The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) wants you to start off the new year on the right foot.
The department is sponsoring First Day Hikes at four state parks on Jan. 1, 2013. Hikes are scheduled at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden; Mansfield Hollow State Park, Mansfield; Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison and Osbornedale State Park in Derby.
“First Day hikes offer a convenient way to get outside, meet new people, exercise, and welcome the New Year with friends and family,” said DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty. “For the second year Connecticut is participating as we once again join all 49 other states that will provide First Day hikes for 2013.”
You can choose a time that fits your schedule:
- 11 a.m. Mansfield Hollow State Park
- 12 Noon Hammonasset Beach State Park
- 1 p.m. Osbornedale State Park
- 1:30 p.m. Sleeping Giant State Park
Dress for the weather and bring water and a snack. Dogs are not permitted on the Hammonasset and Sleeping Giant hikes. Dogs are allowed on the Mansfield Hollow and Osbornedale State Park hikes, but must be on a leash.
Choose your hike based on the abilities of your group, some of them are relatively flat and others involve a degree of rock scrambling. The hikes range from one to five miles.
- Mansfield Hollow State Park will be hosting two hikes. The 2.2 mile hike is a relatively flat loop starting from the parking lot on Bassetts Bridge Road and following along the dike towards route 89 in Mansfield. Wide beautiful trail that is easy under foot that will eventually turn into a deeper wooded section looping back to the parking lot. Lots of beautiful pines and a brief overlook of the reservoir on the way back. The 4.5 mile hike goes on trails past the boat launch and wrap around the lake at Mansfield Hollow. You will view a number of scenic points along the way overlooking the reservoir.
- Hammonasset Beach State Park walk will cover about a mile or so with a few stops to talk about the recessional moraine, salt marsh, Long Island Sound and a bit about the Hammonassets-who they were and what happened to them. The walk will last about 1 hour with refreshments following. The atlatl will be demonstrated, archaeological exhibits and interpreters available at the Meigs Point Nature Center until 3:00 p.m.
- For the Osbornedale State Park Hike choose easy .6 mile loop or moderate to strenuous 2.5 mile loop. Meet in the Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby parking lot. Hike the red trail, past old stone foundations and ponds, through fields and forests as you discover the history of the farm. Free coffee and hot chocolate after the hike.
- The Sleeping Giant Park Association invites you to hike along with them and help usher in the New Year at the Giant. The hike will involve traveling over uneven, rocky terrain, possibly with a degree of rock scrambling. At some point in the hike, the group may break into two smaller groups, with one returning to the starting point after about 1 1/2 hours, while the other group will continue for another hour or so. Hikers should be in good physical condition.
First Day Hikes originated more than 20 years ago at a state park in Massachusetts. In 2012, for the first time, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor First Day hikes, offering 400 hikes nationwide.
All hikes are led by state park staff and volunteer and are free to those participating. Details about hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing are listed on the America’s State Parks website.
Visit www.americasstateparks.org and select Connecticut to learn more about local hikes.