Outdoor enthusiasts flocked to Tyler State Park on Sunday to participate in New Year’s Day activities.
Sunday was the official kickoff for the Texas State Park Centenary Celebration, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Various events were held at various state parks around the state, and Tyler hosted his TRYathalon, where participants could ring in the New Year by trekking, horseback riding, and kayaking.
About 20 hikers, led by East Texas Trekkers’ first vice president, Bonnie Avonrude, took part in the first hike of the morning. The forecast was perfect for hiking, with temperatures in her high 60s and the sun peeking through the clouds.
Rachel Jean, a Palestinian who recently moved to Tyler, participated in the first day hike for the first time. Although it was her first time participating in this annual tradition, she knows state parks very well.
“I’m currently working on going to different state parks in Texas,” she said.
Gean’s goal of visiting every state park in Texas came true after plans to travel to Scotland were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Once that was no longer happening, I thought of other ways I could explore and thought, ‘How can I explore Texas?’ I thought of visiting all the state parks here. Only,” she said.
During his New Year’s Day excursion, Gean wanted to make new friends as well as enjoy the outdoors.
“This year I wanted to get out and meet people and explore nature at the same time,” she said. I thought.”
Gene said hiking is a hobby she enjoys.
“When I go to different state parks, I try to hike one or two of the trails the parks offer and they’re always really fun,” she said. “Each state park is really different. You can see a lot of different things in each while doing the same thing.”
Gean visits Tyler State Park as often as possible to enjoy the scenery with his Texas State Parks pass. She said Tyler’s park was beautiful and perfect for many people to enjoy.
“It’s a great park, definitely one of the bigger parks,” she said. “I love tall pines. Not all state parks have East Texas pines.”
She teaches physics and astronomy at Tyler Junior College, so she also enjoys going to the park and looking at the stars through her telescope.
She said the first-day hike has become a new tradition for her each New Year’s Day.The first-day hike has been a local tradition for about eight years, according to Tyler State Park officials.
Throughout the day, more groups of hikers took part in over 3 miles of trail. TRYathlon attendees were able to check out stations in the park and learn about hiking, trekking and kayaking from the enthusiasts themselves.
In addition to hiking, participants learned about mountain biking from the East Texas Trail Advocacy and kayaked on the lake with a park ranger as their guide.
Boyd Sanders, Tyler State Parks Volunteer Coordinator and member of the Tyler Tourism Commission, previously told The Tyler Morning Telegraph that Tyler State Parks plays an integral role not only in Smith County communities, but for travelers statewide. says it is fulfilling.
“Tyler State Park is a great place to learn the outdoors, try out new skills, and enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, biking, and more. I was. “The park also offers a ranger program that introduces visitors to the park’s natural resources, local history, and outdoor skills to make your visit to the park more enjoyable.”
The 985.5-acre Tyler State Park is north of Tyler in Smith County.
Tyler State Park is located at 789 Park Road 16 and can be reached at (903) 597-5338. The park is open daily from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.
For more information, visit the Tyler State Park website.