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Parks to offer free parking

RICHMOND — Virginia State Parks will offer free parking Jan. 1, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy special hikes or self-guided hikes on more than 500 miles of trails across 37 state parks.

For added fun, Virginia State Parks will hold the First Day Hikes Photo Contest and the New Year Challenge. Each contest has a $500 gift certificate as the top prize, as well as other prizes.

Pocahontas State Park hosts a New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day hike that begins Dec. 31 at 11 p.m. and ends with a New Year bonfire and a sparkling cider toast.

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Care Center at (800) 933-7275 or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.