New York State Parks to celebrate new year with 'First Day Hikes'by jmaloni
Third annual event effort encourages families to spend the holiday enjoying the outdoors
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will sponsor 24 guided hikes in state parks and historic sites on New Year's Day as part of the third annual "First Day Hikes" program taking place across the nation. "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 Jan. 1, 2014, at a state park or site close to home.
"Begin a new tradition with your family and join us for with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks or sites this New Year's Day," said New York State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "From guided woodland walks and gorge hikes to snowshoe treks and historic walking tours, 'First Day Hikes' are a great way for people to de-stress during the holidays and kick off 2014 by spending time surrounded by winter's outdoor splendor."
Held New Year's Day, "First Day Hikes" offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome 2014 with friends and family. Participants can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of the season and spectacular vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the location. Many hikes will offer refreshments.
"These family-friendly 'First Day Hikes' provide a great chance to get outside and experience the beauty of our parks, stay fit and build lasting traditions with loved ones," said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors.
America's State Parks and American Hiking Society are teaming up to promote "First Day Hikes" as a healthy and memorable way to start the new year.
"Winter hiking is a fun and wonderful experience, but does require all hikers to be properly prepared," noted Gregory Miller, president of American Hiking Society. "We are encouraging Americans young and old to ring in the new year by putting on their hiking boots and joining 'First Day Hikes' in support of state parks and trails in 2014."
Twenty-four hikes are being offered at 23 New York state parks and historic sites. This year's programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a historic walking tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, crossing one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges, and more. If weather conditions permit, some "First Day Hikes" may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. 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; 1-3 p.m.; 716-285-0516
- DeVeaux Woods-Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 1-3:30 p.m.; 716-285-0516
- Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1-3 p.m.; 716-285-0516
- Wilson Tuscarora State Park, Wilson; 2-4 p.m.; 716-285-0516
- Allegany State Park- Red House, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; 716-354-9101, ext. 236
- Letchworth State Park, Castile; two hikes (young children/older children) at 1 p.m.; 585-493-3600
- Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 1 p.m.; 607-387-7041, ext. 113
- Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 1 p.m.; 607-648-5251
- Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 1 p.m.; 315-492-1590
- Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 1 p.m.; 607-547-8662
- Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; noon; 315-489-3642/315-646-2321
- Robert Wehle State Park, Henderson; 10 a.m.; 315-938-5083
- Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 10 a.m.-noon; 518-793-0511
- Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 10 a.m.; 518-584-2000
- Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 11 a.m.; 518-827-6111
- Taconic State Park - Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 1 p.m.; 518-329-3993
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Kerhonkson; 1-4:30 p.m.; 845-255-0752
- Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park; Poughkeepsie; 2 p.m.; 845-454-1190
- Clay Pit Ponds, Staten Island; 11 a.m.; 718-605-3970, ext. 201
- Jones Beach State Park, Wantaugh; 1:30-3 p.m.; 516-785-3614 or 516-780-3295
- Camp Hero State Park, Montauk; 1 p.m.; 631-668-5000
- Caumsett State Park, Huntington; 1:30 p.m.; 631-581-1072
- Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Bohemia; 10 a.m.; 631-581-1072