First Day hikes planned in state parks; admission free on New Year’s Day

PORT TOWNSEND — On New Year’s Day, special free First Day Hikes are planned at the Fort Worden and Fort Flagler state parks while all state parks will offer free entrance to visitors.

On the same day, a Teddy Bear Hike is planned at Fort Townsend.

No Discover Pass will be needed on Tuesday to visit state parks.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, the state parks are Bogachiel near Forks, Dosewallips near Brinnon, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, Fort Townsend and Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Anderson Lake State Park near Chimacum and Sequim Bay near Sequim.

Fort Worden

At Fort Worden, the Friends of Fort Worden will host two special hikes as part of the statewide First Day Hikes program sponsored by Washington State Parks.

The free hikes will start from the USO Building parking lot adjacent to Taps at the Guardhouse near the park’s main entrance at 200 Battery Way.

The Friends and State Parks will provide free warm beverages and light snacks at the starting point.

Visitors will have a choice of two different hikes.

The first hike will be a guided hike along family-friendly paved roads winding up and around Artillery Hill.

Called the “Best of Fort Worden Hike,” participants will see and learn about some of the most iconic features at Fort Worden.

The hike should be accessible to strollers and power wheelchairs, but the group asks that dogs remain at home.

There are some sections of moderate slope on this hike.

The hike length is 2.3 miles and the expected duration is about two hours at an easy pace.

The second hike will be a self-guided hike along mostly dirt trails around the perimeter of Artillery Hill.

Called the “Viewpoints Loop Hike,” participants will see the best viewpoints around the park, including a stop at the new free public viewing telescope recently donated to the ark by the Friends group.

Well-behaved dogs on leash will be welcome on this hike. There are some sections of moderate to steep slope on this hike, and the trail surface has some heavily rooted sections.

The hike length is 2.5 miles, and the expected duration is about 1.5 hours at moderate pace.

Participants should wear weather-appropriate attire and footwear.

For further hike details, go to fwfriends.org.

Fort Flagler

At Fort Flagler, 10541 Flagler Road in Nordland on Marrowstone Island, visitors can explore the region’s military past with park host and history enthusiast Ron Raplee during a Hike Through History.

The tour of the Historic Gun Placement Trail will begin at 11 a.m. at the park museum.

Hikers are urged to bring their flashlights to check out Fort Flagler’s bunkers on the 2-mile walking tour.

For more information, call Fort Flagler Historical State Park staff at 360-385-3701, or email [email protected].

Fort Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Fred Weinmann will lead the 15th Teddy Bear Hike at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The annual hike will depart from main parking lot of Fort Townsend State Park, 1370 Old Fort Townsend Road.

The hike is free and a Discover Pass is not required.

The public is invited.

Teddy bears are optional.

For more information, call Fred or Ann Weinmann at 360-379-0986 or visit [email protected]

Washington was among the first states in the nation to participate in First Day Hikes, a nationwide initiative organized by the National Association of State Parks Directors.

More information about the program and hikes offered all over the country is available at: www.naspd.org/initiatives-special- programs/first-day-hikes/.

Free days in state parks apply only to day use, not overnight stays or rented facilities.

A Discover Pass is still required to access lands managed by the Washington state departments of Natural Resources and Fish & Wildlife on these days.

The Discover Pass is a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit.

The other free days in state parks in 2019 are:

• Jan. 21— Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

• March 19 — State Park’s 105th birthday.

• April 20— Spring day.

• April 22 — Earth Day.

• June 1 — National Trails Day.

• June 8 — National Get Outdoors Day (State Parks and Fish & Wildlife free day).

• June 9 — Fishing Day (State Parks and Fish & Wildlife free day).

• Aug. 25 — National Park Service 102nd Birthday.

• Sept. 28— National Public Lands Day.

• Nov. 11 — Veterans Day.

• Nov. 29— Autumn day.

For more information, see https://parks.state.wa.us/.

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