A release from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection:
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) joins America’s State Parks in sponsoring First Day Hikes at four state parks on Jan. 1, 2014.
First Day Hikes originated over 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. In Connecticut, hikes are scheduled at Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden; Mansfield Hollow State Park, Mansfield; Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison and Osbornedale State Park, 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 Daniel C. Esty, Commissioner of the DEEP. “For the third year Connecticut is participating as we once again join all forty nine other states that will provide First Day hikes for 2014.”
Hikers may choose a time that fits their schedule:
- Mansfield Hollow State Park’s hike begins at 11:00 AM
- Hammonasset State Park (Meigs Point) at 1:00 PM
- Osbornedale (Kellogg Environmental Center) at 1:00 PM
- Sleeping Giant State Park’s hike begins at 1:30 PM.
Please 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 along the dike towards route 89 in Mansfield. This easy wide beautiful trail will eventually turn into a deeper wooded section looping back to the parking lot. Hikers will see 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. Hikers will view a number of scenic points along the way overlooking the reservoir.
Hammonasset Beach State Park’s walk will cover about a mile or so with a few stops along the way to talk about the history of Hammonasset Beach from prehistoric times to the present day. Meet at Meigs Point Nature Center. The walk will last about 1 hour.
The Osbornedale State Park hike will be a moderate to strenuous 2.5 mile loop. Meet at the Kellogg Environmental Center, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby. The hike is on the red trail, past old stone foundations and ponds and through fields and forests as hikers learn about the history of the farm. Free coffee and hot chocolate will be served after the hike. Dogs on leashes are invited to participate.
The Sleeping Giant Park Association invites hikers to join 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 to participate.