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New York State Parks invites New Yorkers to celebrate New Year outdoors

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Mon, Dec 26th 2016 07:00 am

Annual First Day Hike on Jan. 1 encourages families & friends to spend holiday enjoying nature

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation invites New Yorkers to celebrate the New Year by exploring the outdoors at one of the 50 sponsored hikes being held at state parks and historic sites across the Empire State. The guided hikes are part of the sixth annual First Day Hikes program, taking place throughout the nation on Jan. 1.

"The start of the new year is the perfect time to leave the hectic holiday pace behind and embrace the outdoors with a walk or hike in New York's breathtaking scenic settings," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "First Day Hikes are a family-friendly tradition that offers a fresh seasonal perspective of our state's natural treasures and the vast opportunities open year-round at state parks."

Fifty hikes are being hosted, nine more than the previous year, at 44 New York state parks and historic sites, with some facilities offering multiple hikes for different age groups, skill level and destinations within the park. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which range from one to five miles depending on the location.

"First Day Hikes offer families the opportunity to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature on guided outdoor adventures," National Association of State Park Directors President Domenic Bravo said. "There are shorter options for families with young children, to longer treks for adventure seekers. State parks offer stunning views, unique cultural and historical experiences, and wintering wildlife for everyone to enjoy."

This year's programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, gorge walks, canal artifacts and nature detectives. New entries for 2017 include the Jones Beach boardwalk, Gilbert Lake's wilderness trail, Green Lakes' hike around the lakes, Seneca Lake and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, exploring Grafton's lakes and following along the Old Croton Aqueduct.

If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many hikes will be offering refreshments. Additional details about the hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and registration requirements are available at www.nysparks.com.

Western New York

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 65 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow on Twitter.

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