(Fremont County, WY) – On New Year’s Day 2024, Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites hosted a record number of participants during their annual First Day Hikes, with 1,132 attendees hiking more than 2,000 miles. This reflects a 206% increase in participation from 2023.
“Each year, our agency strives to enhance this annual event in ways that will continue to encourage both returning and first-time guests to join us outdoors for this special occasion, and we were, of course, ecstatic to see our First Day Hikes’ attendance more than triple this year,” states Laurel Stephens, Outreach Coordinator for the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation. “We see these numbers as indicative of recent outdoor recreation trends and that more people are taking advantage of the endless outdoor recreation opportunities our state has to offer.”
Hosted annually by the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails, First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outside and to promote the overall mental and physical health benefits recreating outdoors provides.
This year, 17 Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites hosted free guided hikes for participants of all ages and allowed hikers at each site to enter to win a Wyoming State Parks’ 2024 Annual Day Use Pass and a statewide Grand Prize.
Local participating sites and the number of hikers include:
- Boysen State Park, 24
- Sinks Canyon State Park, 14
- South Pass City State Historic Site, 25
Not only do First Day Hikes aim to create a fun experience for all, but they also aim to create a comfortable and familiar environment, so that participants are inspired to take advantage of these local treasures throughout the year.
“I look forward to First Day Hikes each year,” says Interpretive Ranger Angelina Stancampiano, who has led First Day Hikes since 2019. “Not only does it quite literally start my year out on the right foot being active and outdoors, but it’s a wonderful way to greet visitors in the new year. We meet, highlight upcoming programs, and can enjoy the hike together. These hikers become regular program attendees and oftentimes friends! This year was great for updating attendees on the many programs our agency offers throughout the year as well as informing and answering questions on our new reservation system!”
In December of 2023, Wyoming State Parks announced a new reservation and permit sales system that includes improved campsite maps and descriptions, streamlined transactions for customers, and text and email reminders to make camping easier.
Customers who create an account on the new site and opt-in for marketing emails will be entered to win a Yeti Cooler. Visit Reserve.Wyoming.gov to create your account and to make reservations.
Check out the photos below from South Pass City State Historic Site’s First Day Hike.