NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new guidance on the 10th annual First Day Hike. The event encourages people to take a walk on Jan. 1 as a way to start the year in nature.

The DEC partners with NY State Parks & Historic Sites to offer events at more than 60 state parks, historic sites, DEC state lands, wildlife areas, Forest Preserve trails, and environmental education centers.

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 be the first Friday, Saturday, or Sunday of January 2021, allowing participants the time and space to socially distance themselves while still enjoying nature’s winter wonders.