Have you ever done a polar plunge? If not, experience tells me once is plenty. But there may be a new thing to ring in the new year, New York's First Day Hike. The Department of Environmental Conservation started the tradition 6 years ago and it's growing fast. Here's where you can participate in Central New York.

First Day Hike began in 2012 with 18 New York trails organizing a hike. Last year the number grew to 60 and it looks like 2019 will roar in with even more sites and people participating. Depending on the weather First Day Hikes can include a simple hike, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. And with so many trails participating there's a variety of lengths and challenges to choose from.

Here's a list of participating locations and who to contact close to Central New York.

Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway Day Use Area
Lake George, Warren County RSVP to Ben Thomas info.r5@dec.ny.gov

Total trip length is 2.8 miles round-trip. View the beautiful southern end of the Queen of the Lakes, Lake George.

Winona State Forest,
CCC Location Lorraine, Jefferson County RSVP to Keith Rivers
315-376-3521

The approximate trip length is 3 miles cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

Camillus Forest Unique Area at 11:00 AM
Town of Camillus, Onondaga County RSVP to: (not organized)

Meet at 11:00 AM at the parking area on Thompson Road near Route 173 intersection. Total trip length is 2.7 miles looped trail.

Bowman Lake State Park at 11:00 AM
Oxford, Chenango County RSVP to Andrew Goeller 607-674-4036 X603

The approximate distance is 2.5 miles with a level of difficulty as a range of both easy and moderate. Leashed pets are allowed and no fees will be collected.

Rogers Environmental Education Center
led by Bullthistle Hiking Club Sherburne, Chenango County
RSVP to Marissa Nolan 607-674-4733 sr.educator@friendsofrogers.org

Meet at 10:00 AM. Rogers Environmental Education Center for a fun family-friendly hike. Trails traverse woodlands, meadows, wetlands, plantations, and farm fields.

Montezuma Audubon Center from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Savannah, Wayne County RSVP to Alyassa Johnson 315-365-3588

Be prepared to hike or snowshoe.

The DEC's website has a list of all trail systems participating in New York along with more details about each hike.

SOURCE: New York Department of Environmental Conservation

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