The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) invites New Yorkers to celebrate the New Year exploring the outdoors at one of the 75 hikes being held at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas and trails across the Empire State. The guided hikes are being hosted by New York State Parks and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the seventh annual First Day Hikes program taking place throughout the nation on January 1, 2018.
“First Day Hikes have become a popular outdoor tradition for families and friends; a healthy way to kick off the New Year amidst the stunning beauty of our state’s most scenic natural backdrops, said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “This year’s program includes an expanded variety of winter walks and hikes, and is the perfect reminder that New York’s parks are open year-round, offering world-class recreation and enjoyment for people with varying interests and abilities.”
Hikes are being offered at 14 DEC wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental educations centers and 59 state parks and historic sites with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill level and destinations within the park. Staff from State Parks and DEC, along with volunteers at many sites, will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Start the New Year off on the right foot by participating in the popular annual First Day Hike at one of New York’s magnificent outdoor destinations. DEC is proud to partner with State Parks to help New Yorkers of all ages and abilities enjoy this growing tradition, which brings friends and families together in our State’s great outdoors.”
A sample of this year’s programs feature a seal walk, walking history tour, snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, gorge walks, military musicology, canal towpath walk and more. New entries for 2018 include a bird survey, full-moon hike, mountain trails, views from a fire tower, and a walk through a maritime forest.
“America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”
If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many host sites will be offering refreshments, giveaways and a drawing for a 2018 annual Empire Pass. A list of the following hikes, and details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at https://parks.ny.gov/events/first-day-hikes.aspx
NYS Parks in the area:
NYC & Long Island
Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 10am; 516.249.3560
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, Lloyd Neck; 1pm; 631.581.1072
Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 1pm; 718.605.3970 x201
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 1pm; 631.581.1072
Hallock State Park Preserve, Wading River; 12pm; 631.315.5475
Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30-3pm; 516.780.3295
Montauk Point State, Montauk; 1:30pm; 631.668.5000 x201
Mount Loretto Unique Area; Staten Island; 10am; 718.313.8591
Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 9am; 631.444.0200
Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 1pm;631.581.1072