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New Year's Day Marks California State Parks' 150th Anniversary

Numerous hikes will mark the occasion.

Press release from the California State Parks Association:

This New Year’s Day 2014, California State Parks will commemorate our 150th Anniversary with several First Day Hikes planned across the state. On Wednesday 31 state parks will offer 38 different hikes, including hikes in the redwoods, the deserts and along the coast and beaches, as well as a paddle hike, and other activities.

The First Day Hikes coincide with State Parks sesquicentennial anniversary year, and they are a signature event designed to offer visitors the opportunity to connect to their parks and nature for recreation and to promote a healthy lifestyle.  First Day Hikes are guided by State Parks staff and volunteers.

“This is an exciting time for State Parks, and we want to connect people to their parks, and make the First Day Hikes an annual family tradition for our visitors,” said Major General Anthony L. Jackson, USMC (Ret.), Director of California State Parks. “State Parks belong to the people California.  For 150 years, California State Parks has been a leader in the conservation and preservation of our natural and cultural resources, and our mission is to offer quality recreation opportunities for the whole family.”

This is the third year California has participated in the First Day Hikes. Last year, there were over 700 hikes across the nation, with more than 22,000 visitors participating, a 6,000 increase over 2012. The following parks will be participating in First Day Hikes:

  • Anderson Marsh State Historic Park
  • Anza Borrego Desert State Park
  • Auburn State Recreation Area
  • Big Basin State Park
  • Burleigh Murray Ranch State Park
  • Carnegie State Vehicle Recreation Area
  • Carpinteria State Beach
  • Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park
  • Crystal Cove State Park
  • Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park
  • Folsom State Recreation Area
  • Henry Cowell State Park
  • Humboldt Lagoons State Park
  • Jack London State Historic State Park
  • Lake Oroville State Recreation Area
  • Lake Perris State Recreation Area
  • MacKerricher State Park
  • Morro Strand State Beach
  •  Natural Bridges State Park
  •  Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area/P ismo State Beach
  •  Pescadero State Beach
  •  Red Rock Canyon State Park
  •  Russian Gulch State Park
  •  Saddleback Butte State Park
  •  San Elijo State Beach
  •  Santa Susana Pass State Park
  •  Standish Hickey State Recreation Area
  •  Sugarloaf Ridge State Park
  •  Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve
  •  Van Damme State Park
  •  Wilder Ranch State Park
  •  Will Rogers State Historic Park
In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation granting the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove (known as the Yosemite Grant) to the state of California to be ' held for public use, resort, and recreation, and shall be inalienable for all time". 

In September of that year, California Governor Frederick Lowe accepted the grant and appointed the first State Parks Commission. Galen Clark, was appointed State Guardian of Yosemite in May 1866, at a salary of $500 per year , becoming the first State Parks employee. These actions represented not only the birth of California State Parks, but in essence, the birth of the national park idea , which has spread throughout the world.

Today, California State Parks has grown to be one of the largest state park systems in the world, with 280 park units, more than 1,600,000 acres, 14,000 campsites, and visitor attendance of some 70 million visitors per year.

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