Governor invites New Yorkers to celebrate
New Year in the outdoors with First Day Hikes
at state parks, historic sites, trails, public lands
ALBANY, N.Y. (Dec. 13, 2021) – Governor Kathy Hochul today encouraged New Yorkers to spend time in the outdoors this holiday season and celebrate the New Year at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the Empire State on Jan. 1. The variety of hikes offered include fire tower treks, lakefront trails, boardwalks, towpaths, walks along waterfalls, historic estates, military forts and more.
"First Day Hikes are a widely popular tradition among New York families, as they remind us just how important our outdoor areas are to our health and happiness year-round," Hochul said. "New York state is home to so many unique hiking trails, and it's a joy to visit for all ages. Hiking on one of the state's beautiful trails is a unique way to welcome a bright, optimistic new year."
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) host or partner with volunteer organizations to host the many walks and hikes being held as part of the popular First Day Hikes program.
"The New Year is an ideal time to take a break from our hectic daily lives and embrace the outdoors with a walk or hike in New York's breathtaking scenic settings,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “First Day Hikes are a fun tradition that offer a chance to experience our state's natural treasures in the winter season."
"New York's annual First Day Hikes grow in popularity every year, and to meet growing interest, DEC added seven new hikes this year,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Now more than ever, New Yorkers and visitors are getting outside and exploring our state's world-class natural destinations and trails. DEC is proud to continue to host these hikes with our partners at State Parks, and I encourage New Yorkers of all ages and abilities to get outdoors with family and friends this New Year's Day."
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event options for hikes range from self-guided treks to small staff- or volunteer-led hikes to multiple event options that day, allowing participants the time and space to social distance while still enjoying nature's winter wonders.
The walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles depending on the location and conditions. Hikes are being offered at more than 75 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers with select sites offering multiple event options. The First Day Hike events may include drawings for an annual Empire Pass, as well as keepsake giveaways.
A list of New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online at parks.ny.gov and dec.ny.gov. Interested participants are encouraged to check the details of their preferred host site and pre-register where required; alternate locations should be considered as capacity restrictions and registration limits may impact availability.
Other ideas to celebrate 2022 in the outdoors include finding a local park or trail. With the recent completion of the Empire State Trail, the longest multi-use state trail in the nation, residents along the 750-mile route have a wide variety of local trail segments to enjoy in all four seasons. Information about the trail is available at empiretrail.ny.gov.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 million people annually. For more information, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call (518) 474-0456.
DEC manages nearly five million acres of public lands, including three million acres in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves, 55 campgrounds and day-use areas, more than 5,000 miles of formal trails, and hundreds of trailheads, boat launches, and fishing piers. Find recreation options by visiting Love Our NY Lands - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/119881.html). Many sites and trails are accessible to people with disabilities.
(Governor’s Press Office)