FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 27, 2021
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
(21/P045) TRENTON – New Jerseyans are invited to ring in 2022 and kick off the new year with a healthy hike in a state park or forest, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.
In total, the State Park Service is offering 28 hikes and one lighthouse climb throughout the state.
“Spending time outdoors to appreciate New Jersey’s beautiful state parks and forests while breathing in fresh air is a great way to welcome the new year,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “First Day hikes are the perfect opportunity to get closer to nature, look for birds and other wildlife and recognize the value of our open spaces.”
The State Park Service did not host any formal guided first day hikes on Jan. 1, 2021 due to COVID-19 outdoor gathering restrictions, but still encouraged park users to go for a hike with their immediate family.
“New Year’s Day is the perfect time to visit a new state park, forest or historic site for the first time,” said John Cecil, Director of the Division of Parks and Forestry. “We understand that some visitors may still be cautious of gathering in groups, and we are pleased to offer a number of self-guided options.”
In 2020, more than 2,000 hikers traveled 5,625 miles on First Day Hikes throughout New Jersey’s vast network of trails.
There are a variety of hikes available at all difficulty levels. Among them:
Spend the day hiking a rugged 16 miles on the Warren Highlands Trail between Phillipsburg and Ragged Ridge in Warren County. The hike begins at 8:30 a.m. Children at least 10 years old who can hike 16 miles in the winter and are accompanied by parents or guardians are welcome, as are leashed dogs. Hikers should bring water, snacks and lunch. There are no restrooms or stores along the hike route. Registration is required by calling hike leader Mike Helbing at (908) 343-8374 or emailing email@example.com. The hike will be canceled only in the event of severe inclement weather.
For a complete list of hikes and related details, visit www.njparksandforests.org/firstdayhikes/
All events are free, and some require preregistration. Some events also are weather-dependent. For a detail list on event start times how to dress, difficulty ratings and lengths of hikes, age requirements, accessibility issues, whether dogs are permitted and whom to contact in case of inclement weather, visit www.njparksandforests.org/firstdayhikes/
The State Park Service began participating in First Day Hikes after the program became a nationwide event in 2012. First Day Hikes began more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass. The program was launched to promote healthy lifestyles and year-round recreation at state parks.
The DEP’s Division of Parks and Forestry manages nearly 450,000 acres of land, including 40 state parks and forests.
For a video about First Day Hikes in New Jersey, visit https://youtu.be/wEHL-uuVQM0.
To learn more about New Jersey’s parks, forests and historic sites, visit www.njparksandforests.org.
Like the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newjerseystateparks.
Follow the New Jersey State Park Service on Instagram @newjerseystateparks
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.