Ben Wilbur is a big advocate for the outdoors.
The Worth Township resident said he annually takes a trip during the holidays to state parks around the country to participate in a first hike of the New Year.
Last year, he went to Swallow Falls State Park in Maryland. The year before that, he went to Letchworth State Park in upstate New York.
This year, he stayed local, and was one of more than 15 people who participated in a First Day hike at Black Moshannon State Park.
It was part of a larger state and national effort in partnership with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative to get more people out to the parks and promote a healthy lifestyle for the the new year, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation.
Guests came from as far away as Johnstown and Williamsport to hike 2.1 miles on Star Mill Trail.
Park Ranger Ben Moyer said Black Moshannon State Park has been hosting First Day hikes since 2011.
“It started with like 20 or 30 people, but the last couple years have been canceled because no one has showed up,” he said.
Moyer and Park Manager Jared Fencil guided guests on a tour of the trail.
“We’re really here to help people explore and answer any questions they might have,” Fencil said.
The hike featured a look at a beaver dam and beaver log, hemlock trees, the identification of animal tracks in the snow and more.
“That’s why I do this,” Wilbur said about visiting state parts during the new year, “to see the beauty of this country and this state, and remind myself this time of year that there are things bigger out there than us.”