The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will sponsor guided hikes in 16 state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative 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, 2012 at a state park close to home. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. From guided seal walks to snowshoe treks, First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks,” said New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey.
“What better way to kick off the New Year than with a hike at a state park?” said Ruth Coleman, President of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “Think of it as the start of a new and healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Whether you’re staying close to home or traveling, join us at one of America’s State Parks on New Year’s Day.”
America’s State Parks boast a variety of beautiful settings for year-round outdoor recreation, and each First Day Hike will offer an opportunity to explore the unique natural and cultural treasures close to home. From California to Maine, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. Visitors can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, experience spectacular views and vistas and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide.
“Studies have proven that getting outdoors is one good way to relax and recharge the body, mind and spirit.” stated Phil McNelly, NASPD’s Executive Director. “We hope that hiking along a trail in a state park will become part of an individual’s or family’s regular exercise routine.”
First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago in Massachusetts. The program was launched to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year round recreation at state parks. New York, along with many other states, have offered outdoor recreation programs on New Year’s Day, however, this is the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website. Visit www.americasstateparks.org to find a First Day Hike nearest you. Some hikes may require advance registration so interested participants should contact the number below for details or find additional information at www.nysparks.com. In New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations and times:
Allegany State Park-Red House, Salamanca; anytime between 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; 716.354.9121
Beaver Island State Park, Grand Island; 10-12 p.m.; 716.549.1050
Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 2-4 p.m.; 716.282.5154
Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1 p.m.; 585.493.3600
Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 2 p.m.; 607.387.6739
Robert Wehle State Park, Henderson; 1 p.m.; 315.938.5083
Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 1 p.m.; 315.482.2479
Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 1 p.m. 607.547.8662
Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 11 a.m.; 518.793.0511
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs;11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 518.584.2535
Minekill State Park, North Blenheim; 1-4 p.m.; 518.827.6111
Thacher State Park, Voorheesville; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 518.872.1237
Taconic State Park – Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 12-2 p.m.;518.329.3993
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, Staten Island; 12 p.m.; 718.967.1976
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 1:30-3:30 p.m; 631.518.1072
Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 10:30a.m.-12 p.m.; 516.785.1600