DEEP: Connecticut State Parks Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes Across the State on January 1, 2019

2018 Press Release
 
December 20, 2018
 
Connecticut State Parks Celebrates the New Year with First Day Hikes Across the State on January 1, 2019

Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a state park close to home
 
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) 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.
 
America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike on January 1, 2019 at a state park close to home.   First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
 
“We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our state parks,” said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee. “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 the following locations and times:
 
Gillette Castle State Park, 67 River Rd., East Haddam, CT.  The hike will begin at 12 noon. Meet at the Visitor’s Center.  Hike will follow the old rail bed, easy hike for approximately 45 minutes to an hour. After the first hike, a second hike of approximately ¾ of a mile will be offered; this hike will include river views.  Sponsor: Friends of Gillette Castle.  Websites: www.ct.gov/deep/GilletteCastle, www.facebook.com/FriendsofGillette Contact:  Paul (860) 222-7850
 
James L. Goodwin Conservation Center, 23 Potter Rd., Hampton, CT, 11:00 AM, moderate, two hour hike, 3-4 miles; dogs on leash allowed. 
Websites:  www.ct.gov/deep/Goodwin, www.FriendsofGoodwinForest.org  Contact: Lena Ives - Helena.Ives@ct.gov
 
Haddam Meadows State Park, Route 154, Haddam, CT, 1:00 PM, easy, 2 mile hike. Meet at the parking lot entrance. Walk along the Connecticut River, learn about the background geology, floodplain habitats, and human impact on landscape. Bring water, snack and snowshoes, if needed. Dogs on leash allowed.  Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Cancellation:  If bad weather, hike will be canceled. Check weather conditions for Haddam.  Website:  www.ct.gov/deep/HaddamMeadows Contact:  Cheryl Czuba cherylczuba@comcast.net
 
Hammonasset Beach State Park, 1288 Boston Post Rd., Madison, CT, 1:00 PM, easy walk, less than one mile.  Meet at the Meigs Point Nature Center; hike will be led by Dr. Don Rankin and friends. Don is a dynamic speaker and will share his knowledge of Native Americans and geologic formations. Sponsor: Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset Beach State Park.  Website:  www.ct.gov/deep/Hammonasset Cancellation: (203) 245-8743. Contact:  Don Rankin, Russ Miller, Russell.Miller@ct.gov
 
Kettletown State Park, 1400 George’s Hill Rd., Southbury, CT, 1:00 PM, moderate, 2 mile hike. Meet at the trail head for Miller Trail. Drive into the park, take every right fork to the trail head. This hike will offer views of much of the tornado damage from May 2018.  Bring water, snack, sturdy footwear, and a sense of adventure.  Dogs on leash allowed. Cancellation: (203) 264-9028. Contact:  Bob McGarry, bernieandbob@charter.net
 
Mansfield Hollow State Park, Bassett’s Bridge Rd., Mansfield, CT, 11 AM (arrive by 10:45 AM), moderate, 2 hikes - 4.5 mile & 2.2 mile, meet in the Mansfield Hollow Recreation Area parking lot. Dogs on leash allowed.  Sponsor: Friends of Mansfield Hollow. Website:  www.ct.gov/deep/MansfieldHollow 
 
Peoples State Forest, Matthies Grove Picnic Area, 106 East River Road, Barkhamsted, CT, 1:00 PM, moderately strenuous, 2.5 miles. This loop hike will start on the Robert Ross Trail, turn onto King Road, and return on the Agnes Bowen Trail. Bring water. No dogs, please. Sponsor:  The Friends of American Legion and Peoples State Forests (FALPS). Website: www.ct.gov/deep/Peoples Cancellation: www.facebook.com/ctfalps. Contact: Janet Bumstead, ctfalps@gmail.com or (860) 882-9632.
 
Rocky Neck State Park, 244 West Main St. (Rt. 156), East Lyme, CT, 10:00 AM, moderate, one hour hike. This hike will meet at beach parking – west lot.  Hike is child friendly with a parent or guardian. No dogs, please.  Sponsor:  Rocky Neck State Park. Website:  www.ct.gov/deep/RockyNeck Contact: Chris Pimley, Chris0381@comcast.net
 
Scantic River State Park, Melrose Road, East Windsor, CT, 1 PM, moderate, 2.5 mile hike, 2 hours, meet in parking area at end of Melrose Road off Broad Brook Road. Donations will be collected for the local food pantry (human and pet items). Dogs on leash welcome. Sponsor: East Windsor American Heritage River Commission.  Contact:  Debbie Talamini, ahriver@sbcglobal.net
 
Sessions Woods #1, 341 Milford Street, Burlington CT 10:00 AM, moderate 5.5 mile loop hike.  Meet by kiosk in the Sessions Woods parking lot.  This hike is sponsored by the Friends of Sessions Woods.  Cancelled if there’s severe weather. 
Contact:  Laura.Rogers-Castro@ct.gov 860-424-3011
 
Sessions Woods #2 – Sky’s the Limit Hike, 341 Milford Street Burlington CT 1:00 PM, hike will follow the Beaver Pond Trail and last between 60 and 90 minutes.  Join us for cocoa in the Conservation Education Center afterwards.  The awards ceremony for the Sky’s the Limit winners will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m. 
Contact:  DEEP.SkysTheLimit@ct.gov 860-424-3200 or 860-424-3013 
 
 
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.  From Alaska to Florida, hikers can climb hills and mountain tops, walk along ponds and beaches, and traverse trails through forests, fields and prairies. Visitors can listen to birds, breathe in the fresh air, discover wildlife tracks, feel the wind and the warmth of the sun or the coldness of the snow. 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.”
 
Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on the state park.  Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website.  Visit www.StateParks.org to find a First Day Hike nearest you.
 
America's State Parks is 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.
 
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Each year more than 9 million visitors visit the 110 Connecticut State Parks across 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.

The mission of the NASPD and America's State Parks is to promote and advance the state park systems of America for their own significance, as well as for their important contributions to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.