Annapolis, MD – January 3, 2020 – About 5,000 hikers took advantage of sunny and mild weather New Year’s Day, joining the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in the state’s annual First Day Hikes initiative. Hikers logged more than 10,000 miles on trails in parks and public lands all across Maryland.

Park rangers, staff, and volunteers guided hikers of all experience levels ringing in the new year on the trail. With 43 hikes at more than 30 locations, the Maryland Park Service registered 3,834 hikers participating in guided hikes, while 1,152 people hiked 1,516 miles on their own — a grand total of 4,986 hikers, not counting many who didn’t check in with a ranger. Even more people hiked in Maryland’s state forests, wildlife management areas, and other public lands.

Among those hiking was Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, who trekked with Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio and about 250 fellow hikers at Patuxent River State Park in Howard and Montgomery counties.

“First Day Hikes are a great way to spend New Year’s Day,” Lt. Governor Rutherford said. “Special thanks go to the rangers, volunteers and all the folks who joined us — I’m already looking forward to next year.”

This year’s attendance broke the record set New Year’s Day 2019, when more than 3,700 people hiked 8,500 miles on 36 different First Day Hikes throughout Maryland — triple the previous year’s numbers.