Virginia State Parks to celebrate New Year with First Day Hikes, contests and more

virginia-newUsher in the New Year with a First Day Hike at a Virginia State Park. On Jan. 1, all 36 parks will offer hiking opportunities, contests and special events.

This is the fourth year Virginia State Parks has participated in this America’s State Parks initiative to get people outdoors and into parks.

The first 100 participants at each park will receive First Day Hike bumper stickers. Groups of two or more that complete a hike can enter to win overnight stays, annual passes and special First Day Hike hats. A First Day Hike photo contest will give participants more chances for prizes.

For all contest details, visit

A complete list of First Day Hike offerings is available at Some programs require advance reservations or have limited space. While specific programs are planned, park visitors can choose a self-guided activity at a fitness level that meets their needs.

A sample of what will be offered:

  • Caledon State Park in King George County will feature its annual Possum Present Hunt (a Christmas version of an egg hunt).
  • Half the fun of visiting False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach is getting to the park. After a bus trip through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, participants will enjoy a geocaching challenge.
  • Jim Klakowicz, retired park manager and Friends Group president, will share his experiences from the early days of Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge as part of the park’s First Day Hike experience.
  • New River Trail State Park in Foster Falls is offering a First Day Hike 10-mile bike ride. Use your own bike or rent one from the park.
  • Twin Lakes State Park near Farmville will have its second annual GPS Poker Hike, which combines GPS navigating and trivia questions into a hiking challenge.
  • Seven state parks will provide refreshments ranging from hot chocolate to eggnog: Bear Creek in Cumberland County, Belle Isle in Lancaster County, Caledon in King George County, James River in Gladstone, Pocahontas in Chesterfield County, Sky Meadows in Delaplane and Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston.

Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Care Center at 800-933-7275 or visit


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news