First Day Hikes to start 2022 on the right foot

Oregon

Guided hikes will resume now that the outdoor mask mandate is lifted

A file photo of a family hiking in Oregon. (Hannah Ray Lambert)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With 2022 around the corner, people can enjoy free parking at state parks across Oregon to ring in the new year.

The Oregon State Parks Department has a guided First Day Hikes event set for Jan. 1, and the normal $5 day-use parking fee is waived for 25 parks that normally require a parking permit.

“Doing guided hikes is always a pleasure, especially this time of year,” said Matt Palmquist, a park ranger at Silver Falls State Park. “Getting to see the park in the winter is always a treat, and we’re kind of highlighting on some of our hikes the changes that you see in the winter.”

Ranger-led hikes are all a bit shorter in distance with none of them longer than one mile at Silver Falls.

For Palmquist, he’s happy to see people’s bright faces at the beginning of the year.

“A lot of times, we don’t have great weather on Jan. 1, so it’s great to see people braving the elements to enjoy the outdoors, and just getting people excited to start the new year by learning something new and getting out and being active,” he said.

The ranger recommends people be prepared for winter conditions considering the park currently has about six inches of snow with more coming later in the week. You should also “dress warmly in layers and bring something waterproof just in case and wear sturdy footwear.”

Along with celebrating the new year, Jan. 1 also marks the beginning of the yearlong Oregon State Parks centennial commemoration.

A list of guided hikes, including times and meeting locations, is online at the Oregon State Parks event calendar. People should check the calendar in the days leading up to Jan. 1 for additional hikes.

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