By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting the new year off on the right foot, more than 400 state parks throughout the United States are hosting free guided hikes on New Year’s Day, showcasing what the great outdoors has to offer.

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The effort, called “First Day Hikes,” was started by the National Association of State Park Directors.

This coming January 1st will be Pennsylvania’s second year of participation, with 20 state parks in the Commonwealth taking part — including Delaware Canal State Park in Bucks County, Marsh Creek State Park in Chester County, and French Creek State Park in Chester and Berks counties.

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Many New Jersey and Delaware state parks are also taking part.  The guided tours are free.

“There are a lot of nature programs ongoing in winter, and perhaps this gives our visitors a first chance to see what our state parks have to offer,” says Terry Brady, with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Start times, degree of difficulty, and information on what to bring are available at www.americasstateparks.org.

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