Celebrate New Year’s Day with NH State Park First Day Hikes Are you looking for an invigorating opportunity to get outside and celebrate New Year’s Day with your family and friends? Come join New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation and our partners on a rejuvenating family-friendly hike this New Year’s Day. New Hampshire State Parks invites the public to kick off the New Year and New Year’s Day with a hike. Five state parks across New Hampshire will host free hikes to providing the opportunity for individuals and families to welcome in 2020 in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with nature. Registration and check in for First Day Hikes, at all locations, will run from 12 to 2 p.m. Hikes commence at 12 and continue to 4 p.m. Online registration at www.nhstateparks.org/news-events/first-day-hike is recommended. NH Parks will serve a hot beverage and a healthy snack to returning hikers. Participants of First Day Hikes can explore historic sites, state parks and even enjoy pet friendly (see list of hike locations for those which permit pets) hikes with their four-footed friends either on their own or discover and experience nature with a guided hike lead by park staff and our partner volunteers. This is the tenth year New Hampshire has participated in the First Day Hikes program. The program is part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. “First Day hikes are a great opportunity to embrace winter and experience the beauty of NH State Parks,” said Eric Feldbaum, NH Div. of Parks and Recreation community recreation specialist. “We are excited to offer First Day Hikes for the tenth season. We invite you to become part of this great tradition.” Here are a few helpful tips to make your day enjoyable: Please remember to check the weather prior to the event. All hikes will take place as scheduled rain, snow, or sunshine. Dress in layers appropriate for the winter weather and wear appropriate footwear. For more information regarding recommended clothing and gear, please visit Hike Safe (www.hikesafe.com.). Traction devices for wear on footwear are highly recommended (trails may be icy). Be sure to pack water and a snack for during the hike. The Park will provide a warm drink and healthy snack at the completion of the hike. The following is the 2020 New Hampshire’s First Day Hike schedule: Milan Hill State Park The well-groomed, 16-kilometer XC (cross Country) ski-trail network, maintained by the Nansen Ski Club, in and around Milan Hill State Park will open for cross-country skiers and those wanting to snowshoe. Park Staff and club volunteers will be onsite with trail maps and suggested routes for those with varying skill levels who wish to take a self-guided tour of the Park and its trails. The event will leave from the newly constructed warming hut near the park entrance. Your adventure offers opportunities to spot animal tracks and take in expansive views of the Northern Presidential White Mountains from the trails, with the option of a spectacular 360-degree view from the fire tower at the top of Milan Hill State Park. NH Parks will serve a warm beverage and a healthy snack to returning hikers. Limited stock of demo XC skis will be available. Dogs are welcomed, but must be leashed. Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste. Address: 72 Fire Tower Road, Milan, NH 03588 Parking: Main entrance parking lot Pets Permitted: Yes Monadnock State Park Join park staff and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests land stewards for a 3-mile hike along the Parker Trail to the Little Mountain Viewpoint. The hike starts with a glimpse of Poole Reservoir and continue on following rolling hills and old stonewalls as you round the base of Mt. Monadnock towards the Old Toll Rd. This hike will take approximately three hours to complete. For those looking for a more leisurely hike, follow the Parker Trail to the Cliff Walk Junction and back. The shorter hike will take approximately two hours to complete and follows relatively flat terrain. After the hike, enjoy hot drinks and snacks while warming up next to the outdoor fire. Address: 116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH 03452 Parking: HQ parking lot Pets Permitted: No Odiorne Point State Park Join park staff and the Seacoast Science Center for a self-guided natural history hike through the varied habitats of Odiorne Point State Park. Trail options include the 3-mile Odiorne Point Loop Trail, which takes you past WWII fortifications, such as Battery Seaman, and the .9-mile Seacoast Science Center and Founders Monument Loop Trail, with a section along the rocky coastline. Guides will be present to share the natural history of this seacoast park. Join us to seek signs of wildlife, watch shorebirds, discover tide pools, and enjoy the many varieties of trees and plants that highlight Odiorne Point State Park as a unique coastal habitat. After the hike, enjoy a warm drink and snack inside Seacoast Science Center. Address: 570 Ocean Blvd, Rye, NH 03870 Parking: Main Entrance Parking Lot Pets Permitted: No Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park Join park staff for a self-guided hike through the winter woods of Franconia Notch State Park’s Flume Gorge. This is an opportunity to experience winter hiking in the White Mountains and the Flume Gorge. See what the Gorge looks like in the winter and get a glimpse of the forces that formed the Flume during the Ice Age. Find animal tracks in the snow and listen to the wind through the silent hardwood forest. The hike will begin from the North side of the Flume Gorge’s Gilman Visitor Center (closed in winter) and follows the summer route of the Flume Gorge Trail. Guest will have two hike options, Option 1: The 2-mile Flume Gorge Trail Loop. This option takes you past the Flume covered bridge to the base of the Gorge. It then traverses around the Gorge (boardwalks are removed for the winter) and brings you to a view from above Avalanche Falls at the top of the Flume Gorge. The trail then takes you west to the Pool and Sentinel Pine Covered Bridge and back to the visitor’s center. Option 2: A shorter hike option is a 1.5 mile, out and back hike to the base of the Flume Gorge and return to the visitor’s Center. Both hike options are moderate and require traction devices for walking on snow and ice. Snow depth may warrant the use of snowshoes. Dogs are welcomed, but must be leashed. Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste. Address: 852 Daniel Webster Hwy, Lincoln, NH 03251 Parking: Main Entrance Parking Lot Pets Permitted: Yes Bear Brook State Park Join park staff on a moderate 2.5-mile hike through the northern side of Bear Brook State Park on Big Bear Trail and return to the parking via Salt Lick Trail. When you have finished this self-guided hike, grab a warm drink and a snack park staff will be serving by the fireside in the parking lot. Dogs are welcomed, but must be leashed. Owners are responsible for carrying out any pet waste. Address: 12 Podunk Road, Allenstown, NH 03588 Parking: Hiker/Biker Lot Pets Permitted: Yes To register for the First Day Hikes and to find more information, visit nhstateparks.org. For questions, please contact Eric Feldbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-271-3556.