First Day hikes kick off 2014

Harrisburg outdoors show tickets on sale now.

Many people start off the New Year with resolutions.

Instead of making resolutions you may not keep, try starting 2014 off on the right (and left) foot by taking part in the 10 a.m. First Day Hike at Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center on New Year's Day.

JEEC educator Lauren Forster will lead the 2.5-mile interpretive hike as participants get to explore the old growth forest of Henrys Woods and the fields of the Homestead Trail.

The hike leaves promptly at 10 a.m. from the parking lot at 400 Belfast Road. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and bring water. Register by contacting Forster at 610-746-2801, extension 102, or emailing her at LaForster@pa.gov.

Jacobsburg will also host a Tracks & Traces Walk 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4, appropriate for kids 5 and older.

First Day hike in N.J.: Another First Day Hike will take place in Asbury, N.J., as part of the New Jersey State Park Service free guided hikes programs. The walks/hikes will take place at the Spruce Run Recreation Area of Voorhees State Park, which is the Highlands Trail in Asbury.

This one isn't a leisurely walk, either. It's a 15-miler scheduled from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m., rain or shine. Pets are welcome on the moderate-to-difficult course. Approprate footwear and clothing, along with water, snacks and lunch are required. The meeting location is the parking area for the Columbia Trail along Route 24/Schooley's Mountain Road in Long Valley, N.J. The group will shuttle to the starting point for the free hike. Registration is required. To register, call hike leader Mike Helbing at 908-343-8374, or email him at sneezehorse@hotmail.com.

New Harrisburg outdoors show tickets: While we've seen the last of the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, the new Great American Outdoor Show, run by the National Rifle Association, is taking its place Feb. 1-9 at the same Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex where the defunct ESOS was held.

Oddly enough, while the ESOS was brought down because of its refusal to showcase modern military arms (while still allowing gun sales), the new NRA-run show's plan will not allow the sale of any guns during the nine-day show that begins the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday.

More than 1,100 exhibitors are lined up to fill the 650,000-square-foot space. The show promises even more than the previous show's version of exhibitors, which included shooting manufacturers, outfitters, boats, RVs, hunting and fishing retailers and more.

There is a concert Feb. 8 by country singer and "Celebrity Apprentice" star Trace Adkins.

Ticket prices are slightly lower than the old show as well. Tickets are priced at $12 for adults, $6 for children 6-12, $10 for senior citizens, $20 for a two-day pass, and $10 for groups of 10 or more.

Tickets are on sale now and available online at http://www.GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org.

Watershed stewards needed: There may be no greater gift that an outdoorsman and conservationist can give than ensuring that future generations can enjoy a clean, pristine experience in the outdoors.

The Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program is an ideal way to give back to nature and help repair man's damage to our fragile ecosystems in order that others may enjoy clean water and healthy land in the long term.

The program in Lehigh and Northampton counties is looking to train a new class of volunteers beginning March 12. Classes will run 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through mid-June.

An informational session will be held 6-9 p.m. Jan. 15 at Seidersville Hall in the Lower Saucon Township Municipal Complex in Bethlehem.

Candidates should possess a strong interest in the environment, a willingness to become educated on environmental topics and a desire to make a difference in the community.

Certified Master Watershed Stewards must complete 40 hours of training and 50 hours of volunteer work during their first year of service. After that, they can contribute as little as 20 hours of service and eight hours of training per year to maintain their certification.

Anyone interested in the program should contact Erin Frederick at 610-391-9840 or email elf145@psu.edu for more information.

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2013 YEAR IN REVIEW
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