The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will sponsor 21 guided hikes in state parks on New Year’s Day as part of the second annual First Day Hikes initiative taking place in all 50 states.
First Day Hikes give individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2013 at a state park or site close to home.
“First Day Hike programs are a wonderful way for families to welcome in the New Year with a fun and healthy activity,” said New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “These hikes and walks offer people of all ages a chance to exercise, connect with nature, and experience their parklands in the prime of winter season. I can’t think of a better way to commit to a resolution for a healthy and happy 2013.”
Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter and spectacular views and vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family- friendly hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the state park. First Day Hike programs include treks identifying animal tracks, a seal walk, winter woodlands, an historic walking tour, an evening hike and more. If the weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross country skiing.
Last year was the first time every state park system in the U.S. joined together to host these outdoor events. The First Day program was launched nationally to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year- round recreation at state parks.
“Getting outdoors and connecting to the natural world is one great way to relieve the stress of work and school and relax in the quiet calm of these wonderful natural settings.” stated Phil McKnelly, Executive Director of the National Association of State Park Directors. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”
Twenty-one hikes are being offered at 18 New York state parks and historic sites. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at nysparks.com. In New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations:
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1-3pm; 716.282.5154
Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 1-3pm; 716.282.5154
Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1-3pm; 716.282.5154
Wilson Tuscarora State Park, Wilson; 2-4pm; 716.282.5154
Allegany State Park – Red House, Salamanca; anytime 10am-3pm; 716.354.9101 x.236
Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1pm.; 585.493.3600
Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 2pm & 6pm; 607.387.7041x.113
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site; Sackets Harbor;11am; 315.489.3642
Robert Wehle State Park, Henderson; 10am; 315.938.5083
Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 2pm; 315.482.2479
Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 1pm; 607.547.8662
Minekill State Park, North Blenheim; 10am-12pm & 12-1pm (younger children) 518.827.6111
Taconic State Park - Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1pm; 518.329.3993
Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson; 1:30-4pm; 845.255.0752
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2pm; 845.454.1190
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 1:30-3pm; 631.518.1072
Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30-3pm; 516.780.3295
Montauk Point State Park, Montauk;1:30-3pm; 631.668.5000
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 179 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visitors can call 518.474.0456, visit nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.