The New Jersey State Park Service will conduct guided hikes and other special outdoors activities at 10 locations on New Year's Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes initiative, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
Locally, lovers of the outdoors are invited to gather at three locations near Hammonton:
Batsto Fire Tower Trail, bike trail ride in the Wharton State Forest, meet at Batsto Village parking area, north end in the back of the lot at noon; Batsto Village, Pleasant Mills Church, hike Batsto Natural Area/Wharton State Forest, 10 a.m.; and Wharton State Forest Atsion, meet field next to Atsion Office off Route 206, 10 a.m.
The national initiative, which involves more than 640 hikes in 50 states, offers an opportunity to start the New Year by connecting with the outdoors at a state park close to home.
"This is a great way for New Jersey residents to start off the New Year and take advantage of all our state parks have to offer," Commissioner Martin said. "Our dedicated parks staff and volunteers are eager to share a great outdoor experience, an experience that visitors will hopefully carry on throughout the year."
DEP park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, which range from one or 2 miles to 15 miles.
Other sites and events include Bass River State Forest (end of Batona Trail, Tuckerton) 11 a.m.; Belleplain State Forest, (East Creek Trail, Woodbine) 10 a.m.; Kittatinny Valley State Park (Paulinskill Valley Trail at Footbridge Park, Blairstown) 10 a.m.; Horseback ride at Halsey Farm (Newton) 10 a.m.; Monmouth Battlefield State Park (Manalapan) 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Princeton Battlefield State Park (Princeton) 6:50 a.m.-9:30 a.m.; Ringwood State Park (New Jersey Botanical Gardens Woodlands, Ringwood) 1 p.m.; Round Valley Recreation Area (Lebanon) 10 a.m-11:30 a.m.; Spruce Run Recreation Area/Voorhees State Park (Highlands Trail, Asbury) 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Washington Crossing State Park (Titusville) 1:30-3:30 p.m.
There will also be a pre-First Day Hike at 1 p.m. on Dec. 30 at Cheesequake State Park in Matawan.
For details about registration, locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips see:
First Day hikes originated more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Mass.
For more about America's State Parks, see http://www.americasstateparks.org/Home
For more information about New Jersey’s state parks and forests, see: