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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Registration is open for the fifth annual First Day Hikes program taking place at 38 state parks and historical sites on Friday -- New Year's Day. First Day Hikes give people of all ages an opportunity to kick off the New Year and enjoy nature during guided walks.

"The natural beauty of New York State makes the perfect backdrop for welcoming in 2016 with family and friends," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone to start a new tradition and take a First Day Hike at their local state park or use the occasion to discover a new favorite."

First Day Hikes offer a great way to connect with the outdoors, exercise and enjoy nature on New Year's Day. Participants can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of the season and spectacular vistas, and benefit from the company of a knowledgeable guide. State park staff and volunteers will lead these family-friendly walks and hikes, which average one to three miles or longer depending on the location.

This year, 41 hikes are being offered at 38 New York state parks and historic sites. The programs include a seal walk, winter woodlands, a walking history tour, a snowshoe waterfall hike, pet-friendly treks, crossing one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges, and more. If weather conditions permit, some First Day Hikes may include snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Many hikes will be offering refreshments. Last year, over 2,100 participants took part in celebrating First Day Hikes across the state.

In Western New York, hikes will be offered at the following locations:

  • Allegany State Park- Red House, Salamanca, anytime 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; 354-9101 x.236
  • Buffalo Harbor State Park, Buffalo; 10 a.m.-12 noon; 549-1050
  • DeVeaux Woods-Whirlpool State Park, Niagara Falls; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 285-5154
  • Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 1:30 p.m.–4 p.m.; 285-5154
  • Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, York; 10 a.m.; (585) 493-3600
  • Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; 549-1050
  • Letchworth State Park, Castile; 1 p.m.; (two hikes - one for families with young children); (585) 493-3600
  • Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; 285-5154

Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain, registration requirements and additional information are listed at

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