First Day Hikes at State Parks in Massachusetts

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In alliance with the First Day Hikes Initiative that celebrates America’s State Parks, Massachusetts is offering residents and visitors a series of First Day guided hikes throughout the state parks system on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2019.

The guided hikes are being coordinated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the state agency overseeing more than ½ million acres of open space throughout the Commonwealth, ranging from parks, open space and historic landmarks to beaches, camping groups and trails for hiking or biking.

Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton said, “For years, Massachusetts residents have welcomed in the New Year with a trek outdoors to appreciate the stunning natural resources of our state. The Baker-Polito Administration is thrilled to continue this tradition, and residents are encouraged to attend a guided hike where they will find passionate and dedicated DCR staff working hard to ensure land is protected and conserved for generations to come.”

Started in 1992 at Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts, First Day Hikes were launched to enable year-round outdoor recreation and to inspire the public to discover the Commonwealth’s impressive natural resources. A growing collection of participating states culminated when, in 2012, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor America’s State Parks First Day Hikes Initiative, which has since become the signature nationwide program for the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD).

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said, “January 1st will mark the 28th year that the Department of Conservation and Recreation has offered First Day Hikes making sure the public has new and fun outdoor recreational options to take part in this holiday. First Day Hikes provide a great start to the New Year, and are an excellent way for residents of all ages to enjoy the wonderful opportunities that await them in the Commonwealth’s state parks.”

Across Massachusetts, visitors to the state parks system will find opportunities to experience unique and cultural treasures that are close to home. From hiking along mountain tops, to traversing through forests, visitors will find themselves surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Commonwealth’s natural landscapes. Park staff will lead the Massachusetts hikes, which average one to two miles or longer depending on location. Details about the hikes, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on DCR’s website. Hikers are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

In Massachusetts, hikes will be offered at the following twelve locations and times:

BOSTON

Old North Church Historic Site, 12:00pm
Meet at the Old North Church Courtyard, Unity Street, Boston
Hot chocolate will be available after the hike.

CENTRAL

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 1:00pm
287 Oak Street, Uxbridge
Meet at the Visitor Center. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. Warm up after the hike at the River Bend Farm Visitor Center with hot cocoa and conversation.

Willard Brook State Forest, 10:00am
599 Main Street, Townsend
Meet at the Forest Headquarters.

Wachusett Reservoir, 11:00am
Chace Hill Road, Sterling
Meet at Gate 35 at the intersection of Route 110 and Chace Hill Rd, Sterling

NORTH

Walden Pond State Reservation, 12:00pm
915 Walden Street/Route 126, Concord
Meet at the New Visitor Center.
Hot chocolate and light snacks will be available after the hike.

Breakheart Reservation, 10:00am
177 Forest Street, Saugus
Meet at the Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center.
Clam Chowder will be served following the hike.

Harold Parker State Forest, 10:00am
Meet at the Headquarters at 305 Middleton Rd. North Andover
Warm up with a fire, hot chocolate and refreshments.

SOUTH

Blue Hills Reservation, 1:00pm
840 Hillside Street, Milton
Meet Blue Hills Wildlife from noon – 1pm with Mass Audubon staff.
Hikes begin at 1pm.
Please arrive early and allow time for parking.
Meet at the Houghton’s Pond parking lot at 840 Hillside St.

Nantasket Beach Reservation, 11:00am
Route 3A, Hull,
Meet at the MJM Bathhouse at 204 Nantasket Ave.
Hot Beverage will be served following the hike.

Nickerson State Park, 11:00am
3488 Main Street, Brewster
Meet at the Main Lot by the entrance
Enjoy Hot Chocolate after the hike

WEST

Great Falls Discovery Center, 1:00pm
2 Avenue A, Turners Falls
Meet in the Great Hall.
Hot chocolate will be served following the hike.

Granville State Forest, 10:30am
323 West Hartland Road, Granville
Meet at the Park Headquarters
Warm up afterwards with a fires and warm beverage.