Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

December 23, 2020

New York State Encourages New Yorkers to Celebrate 2021 Outdoors with First Day Hikes at State Parks, Historic Sites, Wildlife Areas and Public Lands

10th Anniversary Event Encourages New Yorkers to Spend the New Year's Day Weekend Holiday Enjoying Nature

Hikes Offered at More Than 60 State Parks, Historic Sites, DEC State Lands, Wildlife Areas, and Forest Preserve Trails

COVID-19 Restrictions in Place Including Mandatory Mask-Wearing and Capacity Restrictions to Limit Large Group-Hikes

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today encouraged New Yorkers to celebrate the New Year safely by spending time outdoors this holiday season at state parks, historic sites, wildlife areas, trails, and public lands across the state beginning January 1, 2021. Families across the state are invited to participate in one of the many walks and hikes being held across the state as part of the 10th Annual First Day Hikes program, a partnership between the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"In these challenging times, getting out into nature has been a major outlet for safe and healthy recreation for New Yorkers," Governor Cuomo said. "Whether you're taking a self-guided hike at a favorite park or discovering a new local trail this holiday season, New Yorkers have unparalleled options and destinations to embrace the outdoors this winter and bring in the New Year while remaining COVID safe and COVID smart."

With the Empire State Trail near completion, residents along the 750-mile route - the longest multi-use state trail in the nation- can enjoy the great outdoors while supporting tourism and community revitalization across the state. Information about the trail, including an interactive map detailing the route, designated parking areas, and nearby attractions is available on the project website.

Walks and hikes are family-friendly, and typically range from one to five miles and are being offered at more than 60 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails and environmental education centers. A list of New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online at and Interested participants are encouraged to check the details of their preferred host site and pre-register where required.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for safe outdoor recreation, there will be no large group hikes this year. The event options for hikes range from self-guided treks to staff- or volunteer-led hikes with a limited number of participants. All hikes are subject to regional COVID-19 limitations. Masks or face-coverings are mandatory, and capacity restrictions may limit participation so have some alternate locations in mind. Hikes will span Friday, Saturday or Sunday of January, allowing participants the time and space to social distance while still enjoying nature's winter wonders.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "First Day Hikes have grown into a popular tradition for many New Yorkers and we look forward to welcoming families and friends out on the trail at many of our parks and historic sites. While this year's program may look a little different from previous events, exploring the outdoors is still the perfect way to enjoy the winter landscapes, unwind with loved ones and kick off the coming year."

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "One unexpected, yet welcome result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increase in the number of New Yorkers heading outdoors to explore world-class recreational opportunities close to home. As we get ready to turn the page on 2020 and enter the New Year, DEC and our partners at State Parks are encouraging visitors to keep discovering New York's abundant lands and parks and to do so safely and responsibly by observing social distancing and other guidelines to ensure an enjoyable and healthy experience for everyone."

I Love New York Executive Director Ross Levi said, "This year gave New Yorkers a new opportunity to discover the wonders and adventures that await them just outside their doors. New York State is not just an amazing destination for visitors; it is a world-class getaway in our own backyard. First Day Hikes and the new year will offer New Yorkers another chance to find what they love here in our own amazing state."

A list of First Day Hikes by region, along with contact information, is as follows:

Western New York

Allegany State Park- Red House; 716.354.9101 x.232

DeVeaux Woods State Park, Niagara Falls; 716.282.5154

Evangola State Park, Irving; 716.549.1050

Fort Niagara State Park, Youngstown; 716.282.5154

Genesee Valley Greenway, Hinsdale; 585.493.3614

Genesee Valley Greenway, Cuba; 585.493.3614

Genesee Valley Greenway Snowmobile Ride, Avon; 585.964.3614

Hamlin Beach State Park, Hamlin; 585.964.2462

Knox Farm State Park, East Aurora; 716.549.1050

Letchworth State Park, Castile; 585.493.3680

Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls; 716.282.5154

Plumbottom State Forest, Amity; 585.415.1521

Reinstein Environmental Education Center, Depew; 716.683.5959

Finger Lakes & Central New York

Bowman Lake State Park/McDonough State Forest, Oxford; 607.334.2718

Catharine Valley Trail, Watkins Glen; 607.535.4511

Chenango Valley State Park, Chenango Forks; 607.648.5251

Clark Reservation State Park, Jamesville; 315.415.8377

Delta Lake State Park, Rome; 315.337.4670

Finger Lakes Trail, Naples; 585.727.6495

Finger Lakes Trail Peaceweavers Loop, Naples; 607.227.7957

Fort Ontario State Historic Site, Oswego; 315.343.4711

Glimmerglass State Park, Cooperstown; 607.547.8662

Green Lakes State Park, Fayetteville; 315.637.6111

Herkimer Home State Historic Site, Herkimer; 315.823.0398

Montezuma Audubon Center, Savannah; 315.365.3580

Norwich Greenway North, Norwich; 607.336.4628

Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne; 607.674.4733

Rome Sands Plains Unique Area, Rome; 315.866.6330 ext. 119

Taughannock Falls State Park, Trumansburg; 607.387.7041 ext. 131

North Country/Adirondacks

Goodnow Mountain, Newcomb; 518.582.4551 ext. 104

John Brown Farm State Historic Site, Lake Placid; 518.744.7112

Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center, Paul Smith's, 518-327-6241

Point Au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh; 518.563.6444

Robert G. Wehle State Park, Henderson; 315.938.5302

Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, Sackets Harbor; 315.646.2321

Wellesley Island State Park, Fineview; 315.482.2479

Wildway Overlook, Essex, 518.962.2287

Greater Capital District

Five Rivers Environmental Education Area, Delmar; 518.475.0291

Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton; 518.279.1155 x2

Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim; 518.827.6111

Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort; 518.793.0511

Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs; 518.584.2000 x16

Hudson Valley/Catskills

FDR State Park, Yorktown; 914.245.4434

Little Stony Point/Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring; 845.224.7207

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site, Katonah; 914.232.5651

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Peter's Kill, Kerhonkson; 845.255.0752

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Sam's Point, Cragsmoor; 845.647.7989

North-South Lake, Haines Falls; 518-935-3735

Olana State Historic Site, Hudson; 518.751.0344

Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park, Dobbs Ferry; 646.303.1448

Red Hill Fire Tower Trailhead, Denning; 845.256.3083

Rockefeller State Park Preserve, Pleasantville; 914.666.6503

Sterling Forest State Park, Tuxedo; 845.351.5907

Taconic State Park - Copake Falls, Copake Falls; 518.329.3993

Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area, Tivoli; 845.625.7198

NYC & Long Island

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale; 516.249.0701

Clay Pit Ponds State Park Preserve, Staten Island; 718-605-3970 ext. 201

Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale; 631.581.1005

Cupsogue Beach County Park, Westhampton; 631.444.0450

Jones Beach State Park, Wantagh; 516.785.1600

Hallock Preserve, Wading River; 631-315-5475

Montauk Point State Park, Montauk; 631.668.5000

Mt. Loretto Unique Area, Staten Island; 718.313.8591

Ridge Conservation Area, Ridge; 631.444.0350

Shirley Chisholm State Park, Brooklyn; 212.866.3100

Sunken Meadow State Park, Kings Park; 631.269.4333

Get Outside Safely, Responsibly, and Locally

New York State's PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages residents to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. New York State Parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation recommendations for getting outside safely incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases. PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. Wear a mask, even when visiting the outdoors. For more information, visit:

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 77 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.