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Cuomo: Registration open for 'First Day Hikes' at New York state parks and historic sites

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Fri, Dec 18th 2015 03:10 pm

Fifth annual event encourages families to celebrate the new year enjoying the outdoors

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced registration is now open for the fifth annual "First Day Hikes" program taking place at 38 state parks and historical sites Jan. 1. "First Day Hikes" give people of all ages an opportunity to kick off the new year and enjoy nature during guided walks.

"The natural beauty of New York state makes the perfect backdrop for welcoming in 2016 with family and friends," Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone to start a new tradition and take a 'First Day Hike' at their local state park or use the occasion to discover a new favorite."

"First Day Hikes" offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise and enjoy nature on New Year's Day. 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.

This year, 41 hikes are being offered at 38 New York state parks and historic sites. The programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history 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. Many hikes will offer refreshments.

Last year, more than 2,100 participants took part in celebrating "First Day Hikes" across the state.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "We are proud to once again host the 'First Day Hikes' and offer these popular outdoor events for the new year. For 2016, we're offering more inspiration than ever for people of all ages and interests, from lakeside trails to spellbinding views of a gorge, centuries of military history, and treks through woods or waterfronts. So start off the year with a healthy hike and set the stage for enjoying the parks year-round."

National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said, "America's state parks provide havens for young and old alike to explore the beauty and serenity of nature through outdoor recreation. Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while discovering beautiful public lands in every state."

National Park Service Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell said, "We hope folks will add 'get outdoors more' as one of their New Year's resolutions! The 'First Day Hikes' make it easy to kick off 2016 by doing just that. The National Park Service is proud to support these hikes in our centennial year as part of the 'Find Your Park' national effort to encourage people to go outdoors and into parks."

In New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations:

Western New York

  • Allegany State Park - Red House, Salamanca, anytime 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.; 716-354-9101, ext. 236
  • Buffalo Harbor State Park, Buffalo; 10 a.m. to noon; 716-549-1050
  • DeVeaux Woods-Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; 716-285-5154
  • Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1:30-4 p.m.; 716-285-5154
  • Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, York; 10 a.m.; 585-493-3600
  • Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.; 716-549-1050
  • Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1 p.m.; (two hikes - one for families with young children); 585-493-3600
  • Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1-3 p.m.; 716-285-5154

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at nysparks.com.

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