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Oregon State Parks offers free ranger-led walks, parking at 22 parks on Jan. 1.

COURTESY PHOTO - Tryon Creek State Natural Area is among the local locations offering free ranger-led hikes on Jan. 1.The First Day Hikes tradition continues New Year's Day 2018 when the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) joins state parks across America for the seventh annual event.

Twenty-four hikes in 22 Oregon state parks will be guided by park rangers or volunteers who will share stories about a park's geology, history, wildlife and plants. Day-use parking fees are waived for all visitors at participating parks Jan. 1 only.

New Year's Day hikers can register for a hike at the Oregon State Parks Store, www.bit.ly/ParkStoreEvents.

Online registration is new this year — although not required — and will help park staff plan for the hike and provide them with participant contact information should hike details change.

"Bundle up and enjoy your first walk of the year with us," says Lisa Sumption, OPRD director. "First Day Hikes are a fun, healthy way to start 2018 and a great way to see that Oregon state parks are great any time of year."

OPRD advises visitors to plan for inclement weather, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring water and remember to carry binoculars for viewing wildlife. Check the hike for details about recommended ages for children hiking and whether pets are allowed.

Some of the participating parks are listed below. Check the online registration site for a full list of hikes.

PORTLAND

  • Banks-Vernonia State Trail: 9 a.m. Meet at the Buxton Trailhead.

  • Tryon Creek State Natural Area: 9 a.m. Meet at the Nature Center.

  • Milo McIver State Park: 9 a.m. Meet in the Riverbend lower boat launch parking lot.

    COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: Noon. Meet at the Mark O. Hatfield Visitors Center West Trailhead.

    WILLAMETTE VALLEY/CASCADES

  • Champoeg State Heritage Area: Two hikes — one at 10 a.m. and one at 2:30 p.m. Meet at the Visitor Center.

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  • Silver Falls State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the South Falls Lodge porch.

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  • State Capitol State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the Capitol steps.

    COAST

  • Cape Lookout State Park: Noon. Meet in the Cape Lookout Trail parking lot.

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  • Humbug Mountain State Park: 10 a.m. Meet at the campground flag pole.

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  • Oswald West State Park: 10 a.m. Meet in the main parking lot on the southern end near the shop.

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  • South Beach State Park: 10 a.m. Meet in the South Beach day-use area.

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  • Sunset Beach State Recreation Site (Astoria area): 10 a.m. Meet in the Sunset Beach parking lot.

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