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State Parks Celebrate the New Year with “First Day” Hikes across CT on January 1, 2019

Branch Brook at Black Rock State Park in Thomaston

HARTFORD – The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) says Connecticut State Parks and its partners will sponsor free, guided hikes in many state parks on New Year’s Day as part of America’s State Parks First Day Hikes initiative taking place in all 50 states.

DEEP says First Day Hikes offer an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2019.

In a press release, DEEP quoted Commissioner Rob Klee: “We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our state parks. Whether you join a guided hike or venture out on your own, you will not be disappointed in the variety of hiking trails that our state has to offer. Connecticut has hundreds of miles of trails appropriate for all age levels to enjoy as we celebrate the first day of 2019.”

In Connecticut, hikes will be offered at Gillette Castle State Park, Goodwin State Forest in Hampton, Haddam Meadows State Park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, Kettletown State Park in Southbury, Mansfield Hollow State Park, Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted, Scantic River State Park in East Windsor, Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, and Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington. Visit the DEEP website for hike details.

DEEP says the hike at Kettletown State Park ‘will offer views of much of the tornado damage from May, 2018.”

First Day Hikes originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation – a state park in Milton, Massachusetts.

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. 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 state park guide.

“America’s State Parks provide havens for young and old alike to discover the tranquility and beauty of nature through outdoor recreation,” National Association of State Park Directors Executive Director Lewis Ledford said. “Hiking offers inspiring ways to improve your physical and mental health, while exploring beautiful public lands in every state.”

America’s State Parks is an organization committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources.

Each year more than 9 million visitors visit Connecticut’s 110 State Parks throughout the state. Established in 1913, the mission of the Connecticut State Park System is to provide natural resource based public recreational and educational opportunities through a system of state park and forest recreation areas, environmental centers and nature centers which provide an understanding of, access to, and enjoyment of the state’s historic, cultural and natural resources.

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