Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is encouraging New Yorkers to ring in the new year outdoors, with a walk or hike at one of many state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, and public lands.
"In these challenging times, getting out into nature has been a major outlet for safe and healthy recreation for New Yorkers," the governor said in a release. "Whether you're taking a self-guided hike at a favorite park or discovering a new local trail this holiday season, New Yorkers have unparalleled options and destinations to embrace the outdoors this winter and bring in the New Year while remaining Covid-safe and Covid-smart."
Family-friendly hikes ranging from one to five miles are planned on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in January at more than 60 state parks and trails. A list of New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, preregistration requirements, and additional information can be found at parks.ny.gov and dec.ny.gov.
With the pandemic in mind, the options range from self-guided treks to hikes led by staff or volunteers, with a limited number of participants. Masks or face coverings are mandatory, and capacity restrictions will apply.
"First Day Hikes have grown into a popular tradition for many New Yorkers, and we look forward to welcoming families and friends out on the trail at many of our parks and historic sites," said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. "While this year's program may look a little different from previous events, exploring the outdoors is still the perfect way to enjoy the winter landscapes, unwind with loved ones, and kick off the coming year."
Long Island and New York City locations include:
Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, 516-249-0701
Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, Staten Island, 718-605-3970, extension 201
Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale, 631-581-1005
Cupsogue Beach County Park, Westhampton Beach, 631-444-0450
Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh, 516-785-1600
Hallock Preserve, Wading River, 631-315-5475
Montauk Point State Park, Montauk, 631-668-5000
Mount Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island, 718-313-8591
Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge, 631-444-0350
Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn, 212-866-3100
Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park, 631-269-4333