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New Jersey State Parks Celebrate the New Year
with First Day Hikes across the state on January 1, 2016


The New Jersey State Park Service is hosting 18 guided hikes, 2 mountain bike rides and a horseback ride in state parks, forests and historic sites on New Year’s Day as part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes program. These free First Day Hikes offer a great incentive to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and celebrate the New Year with friends and family in one of your state parks.

For all hikes and rides, wear sturdy footgear and bring water and snacks. Check the weather before you leave the house and wear weather-appropriate clothing. Layers are best for exercising in colder temperatures

See the list below and join us – and thousands of other people, dogs, and horses all over America - for a great way to welcome the New Year!

 


                                                                               

BASS RIVER STATE FOREST        
Bass River Twp

First Day Hike in NJ’s First Forest
Bass River State Forest
10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Begin your new year with a short walk through the pine barrens of New Jersey’s first state forest. Traverse an Atlantic white cedar swamp (via boardwalk), a pine-oak forest, a pine barrens lake, and enjoy hot beverages at the historic Interpretive Center built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

Hike info
Easy-moderate ~ 3 miles
Children with responsible adult, welcome. Dogs on a leash are welcome.
Meeting Location: Bass River State Forest Office, 762 Stage Road Tuckerton, NJ 08087 One mile west of the Garden State Parkway and about a mile north of Route 9.

Registration & Cancellation
Registration NOT required. For more information, call (609)296-1114.
Cancelled if severe weather. To check, call the hike leader at (609)272-1142 before 9am on Jan 1 or forest staff at (609)462-6228 after 9am.

 

                                                                                                                           

BELLEPLAIN STATE FOREST        
Woodbine

1st Day East Creek Trail Hike
Belleplain State Forest
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Join us for a hike on the East Creek Trail. The hike will cover half the distance of the trail.

Hike info
Moderate ~ 3.5 miles.
No age restrictions.. Dogs on a leash are welcome.
Meeting Location: Belleplain Forest Office

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, call (609)861-2404
Cancelled if extremely bad weather. Call (609)374-0094 on 1/1 for info.

 

BELLEPLAIN STATE FOREST        
Woodbine

1st Day Mountain Bike Ride
Belleplain State Forest
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The South Jersey Wheelmen will lead a mountain bike ride on a 10-mile-long trail in Belleplain State Forest. This is a technical trail with twists and turns through the forest. An option of less mileage is available.

Hike Info
Moderate to difficult ~ 10 miles
Bring water, your own bike, bike-riding gear, especially a helmet a must! Some experience with mountain biking is necessary. Wear weather-appropriate clothing
Meeting Location: Office in Belleplain State Forest

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, call (609)861-2404
Cancelled if bad weather. If in doubt, call (609)805-4073 on 1/1 for more information.

 

BRENDAN T. BYRNE STATE FOREST
Woodland

New Year’s Cranberry Hike 2016
Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.                                                                                                  
Enjoy your first hike of the year in the Pine Barrens! Travel along the Cranberry Trail and around Reeve’s Cranberry Bogs where you may observe Tundra Swans. As you hike, you will learn about some of the native plants and the history of Brendan Byrne State Forest.

Hike Info
Moderate  ~ 5.5 miles
Children 10 and up with parents/guardians welcome.
Meeting Location: Pakim Pond Picnic Area                                                              

Registration & Cancellation
Pre-registration IS REQUIRED. To register, please call (609)726-1191
Cancelled if icy conditions or severe weather.


CHEESEQUAKE STATE PARK        
Old Bridge

First Day Hike
Cheesequake State Park
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.                                                                                                    
Join us for a guided hike on the trails of Cheesequake to celebrate the New Year.          

Hike Info
Moderate ~ 1.5 miles
Children 8 and up with parents/guardians welcome.
Meeting Location: Cheesequake State Park Nature Center                                    

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, call (732)566-3208
Cancelled if weather conditions are bad. To check, call (732)566-3208 after 9 a.m. on 1/1  


KITTATINNY VALLEY STATE PARK/PAULINSKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL       
(Blairstown)

Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail Committee 31st Annual New Year’s Day Hike
Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail (extension of Kittatinny Valley State Park)
10:00 a.m. – open
Join the Paulinskill Valley Trail Committee (PVTC) at Footbridge Park in Blairstown, NJ for a First day Hike on the Paulinskill Valley Trail. The PVTC, a “Friends” organization of the Kittatinny Valley State Park, will host the hike.

Hike Info
Moderate ~ 4–5 miles. The cinder-based rail-trail provides easy, level walking.
Children with responsible adult are welcome.
Bring lunch and a drink.  Dogs on a leash are welcome.
Meeting Location: WE WILL LEAVE FROM FOOTBRIDGE PARK, 1 Footbridge Lane, Blairstown, NJ 07825
Directions: Route 94, Blairstown, NJ.  Take Route 80 to Exit 12, Route 521.  Go north on Route 521 for 5 miles to Route 94 in Blairstown.  Turn left onto Route 94 and take the second left into the park, designated by a small white sign with black lettering. GPS Coordinates: 40.981345, -74.957191

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, call (908)930-9745
Cancelled if deep snow, heavy rain or heavy snowstorm. To check, call (908)930-9745

 

 

KITTATINNY VALLEY STATE PARK/PAULINSKILL VALLEY RAIL TRAIL       
(Blairstown)

First Day Horseback Ride
Sussex Branch & Paulinskill Valley Rail Trails (extension of Kittatinny Valley State Park)
11:00 a.m. Come earlier to unload, saddle up etc.
Bring your OWN HORSE if you’d like to participate in a 2-hour guided horseback ride.
In addition, all other trail users are encouraged to start a new tradition: Kick off the New Year by hiking, cycling or horseback riding on the Sussex Branch and Paulinskill Valley Rail Trails and/or other places in Kittatinny Valley State Park on New Year’s Day on your own or with friends and family, then meet up with others for a late lunch in the Chatterbox (Under your own steam). Whinny with the horses as they return around 2:00 p.m. (Please note: The horseback ride is the only organized, guided activity at this location. All other suggested activities are your responsibility and should be conducted independently)

Horseback Ride info
Easy ~ 6-10 miles (depending on weather)
Bring your own horse!
Children 10 years and older with a riding adult welcome. Riding helmets are required.
Meeting Location: The Chatterbox Restaurant, 1 State Highway 15, Augusta, NJ 07822 (corner Rt 15/206)
                                                   
Registration & Cancellation
Registration is recommended.
To register and/or for more information, call, text or email Carolyn at (845)667-2015 or cmoran789@gmail.com
Cancelled if weather conditions are not safe for riding. Contact Carolyn at (845)667-2015

                                                        

                                      

MONMOUTH BATTLEFIELD STATE PARK
Manalapan

Follow the Footsteps of Molly Pitcher
Monmouth Battlefield State Park
11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Walk the ground where Molly Pitcher fought at Monmouth!
Meet Dr. David Martin, president of the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield at the Visitor Center for an overview of the Battle of Monmouth, then drive approx. 2 miles (in your own vehicle) to the northern section of the park and walk along the American lines to the position of Proctor’s Artillery and other sites associated with Molly Pitcher. Finish with a visit to the likely site of Molly Pitcher’s “well”. The length of this interpretive tour is subject to change depending on weather and conditions. The tour is over open fields and hills and includes detailed information about troop movements at the Battle of Monmouth.

Hike Info
Moderate ~ 2 miles. (Slow pace, with historical interpretation. Over open fields with uneven surfaces.)
Children age 10 and over with parent/guardian are welcome.
Meeting Location: Monmouth Battlefield State Park Visitor Center, 16 Business Rte. 33, Manalapan, NJ 07726

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, email dmartin@peddie.org
Cancelled if inclement weather. To check, call (609)529-5356 on 1/1

 

                                                                               

RANCOCAS STATE PARK          
Hainesport

First Day Hike at Rancocas ~ Hike 1
Rancocas State Park
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
On January 1, in all 50 states, state parks are offering First Day Hikes. In keeping with the tradition, join a County Park Ranger for a hike at Rancocas State Park.  Begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike.

About the Hike
Easy to moderate ~ 3 miles
Children ages 6 and up with responsible adult are welcome.
Service animals only. No restroom facilities
Meeting Location: 800 Rancocas Ave, Hainesport. Go through open gate and down gravel driveway until you see a park ranger, park along the gravel driveway shoulder.

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register, please call Burlington County Parks office: (609)265-5858 with your name, number of people attending, and phone number.
Cancelled if weather inclement. Call park at (609)265-5858 during business hours. On 1/1, call ranger cell (609)668-5164 if weather conditions are uncertain. www.co.burlington.nj.us/parks

 

                                                                                 

RANCOCAS STATE PARK 
Westampton

First Day Hike at Rancocas ~ Hike 2
Rancocas State Park, Westampton section
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
On January 1, in all 50 states, state parks are offering First Day Hikes. In keeping with the tradition, join a Burlington County Park Ranger for a hike at Rancocas State Park. Begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike. Please register with Burlington County Parks. 

Hike Info
Easy ~ 3 miles
Difficulty:
Children ages 6 and up, with responsible adult, are welcome
Service animals only. No restrooms available.
Meeting Location: Rancocas Nature Center parking lot. 794 Rancocas Rd., Westampton

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register, please call Burlington County Parks office (609)265-5858 with your name, number of people attending, and phone number.
Cancelled if weather inclement. Call park at (609) 265-5858 during business hours. On 1/1, call ranger cell (609)668-5164 if weather conditions are uncertain. www.co.burlington.nj.us/parks

                       
                                                                                            

RINGWOOD STATE PARK     
Ringwood

First Day Hike
Skylands Manor Section, Ringwood State Park                                                           
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Join State Park staff, Skylands Association volunteers, and volunteers from the New York New Jersey Trail Conference for a self-guided, family-friendly hike in the Park’s woodlands. Weather permitting, we will climb to the Mt. Defiance overlook on the Halifax Trail and return. Map and hike directions will be provided. Staff will be on the trail to assist.

Hike Info
Easy to moderate ~ 1.5 miles
Children with parents/guardians are welcome; small children may need to be carried.
Service animals only.
Meeting Location: Carriage House, New Jersey State Botanical Garden, Skylands Manor  

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is NOT required. For more information, call (973)962-2240
Cancelled if severe weather conditions. Check the SPS website and Facebook or call (609)218-3532 for more information

                
                                                                                            

ROUND VALLEY RECREATION AREA     
Lebanon

New Year’s Hike
Round Valley Recreation Area
10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Whatever you did the night before, this is your chance to get outdoors in New Jersey and start 2016 off on the right foot. We will hike the 2.5 mile Water Trail and look for signs of new life as the year begins. 

About the Hike
Easy to moderate ~ 2.5 miles
Children with adults welcome.
Wear comfortable & sturdy footwear as terrain is all natural and not paved.
Meeting Location: RVRA South Lot (first right past park office)

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information: Call park office (908)236-6355
Cancelled if snow or ice on the ground. We will call registered participants. If in doubt, please call the park office (908)236-6355 or Jim Tubman (908)963-0546

 

 


SPRUCE RUN RECREATION AREA and MORE
Union Twp, Lebanon Twp, High Bridge Borough



North Hunterdon County, old favorites and new additions!
Spruce Run Recreation Area/ Reservoir to High Bridge
8:45 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hike with old friends, or meet someone new. We will be taking a 15-mile-long journey through Highlands Trail changes at Spruce Run and the new Vista Trail extension at Voorhees, dip down into Ken Lockwood Gorge, travel back in time through the Taylor Steelworker’s Historic Greenway, and end the hike in Union Forge Park, High Bridge. We may also get to visit the Turner House. This is a strenuous and long all-day hike.                                                                    

Hike Info
Moderate to Difficult ~ 15 miles (This is an ALL DAY event; not for beginners)
Children who can hike 15 miles in the winter and are accompanied by parents/guardians are welcome. Dogs on a leash are welcome.
All participants need to be aware of the duration of the hike and prepare accordingly.
Bring water, snacks and lunch (We will be passing one store along the way)
Meeting Location: Union Forge Park, High Bridge NJ.  Park is across from (Custom Alloy) 3 Washington Ave, High Bridge NJ GPS Coordinates: 40.666122, -74.892875 ** We will park here and shuttle people to the start of the hike.                                                                         

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information, call hike leader (Mike Helbing) at (908)343-8374, or email him at sneezehorse@hotmail.com
Hike is rain or shine, but if it is cancelled, registered participants will receive a phone call.
Note: Please call Mike if you are cancelling.

 

                                                                              

STOKES STATE FOREST  
Branchville

First Day Hike to the Tower
Stokes State Forest
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Hike along the Appalachian Trail to the Fire Tower scenic overlook

About the Hike
Moderate to Strenuous ~ 3 miles
Children with adults welcome. Dogs on leash are welcome.
Meeting Location: Stokes State Forest Office

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information, call (973)948-3820
Cancelled if steady rain or accumulating snow. If cancelled, we’ll call registered participants.

 

 

 

   

WARREN GROVE RECREATION AREA (Bass River State Forest)     
Woodland/Little Egg Harbor

Short and Sweet
Warren Grove Recreation Area/Pine Plains
10:00 a.m. to 12 noon (approx.) (Meet at 9:30am)
A short walk in the land of short pines – A long breath of fresh air on the first day of the year – good friends afoot & abound – Sweet sounds of nature and laughter.  Come enjoy the morning. (Botanical explorations expected)

Hike info
Easy ~ 2 miles
Children with responsible adult, welcome. Dogs on a leash are welcome
Note: The pine plains tend to be windy
Meeting Location: Lucille’s Country Cooking, 1496 Rt. 539, Warren Grove 08005

Registration & Cancellation
Pre-registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information, call Terry at (609)412-3394
Cancellation: If in doubt, please call the above number. Decision will be made by 4PM on 12/31

                                                                                                    

WASHINGTON CROSSING STATE PARK     
Hopewell

From Ferry to Ferry
Washington Crossing State Park/Johnson Ferry House                                             
10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Walk the route that Washington and the continental army took on Christmas night 1776. Cross the Delaware River at the ferry landings and visit a ferry boat replica and three historic buildings on the Jersey side, all with historic interpretation.

Hike Info
Interpretive Tour/Easy to Moderate ~ 1.2 miles
Children of 12 years and older with parents/guardians are welcome.
Bring cameras, binoculars, water and snack if desired. Service animals only, please.
Meeting location: Begin at McKonkey's Ferry in Washington Crossing Historic Park, PA (Hike will end at Washington Crossing State Park, NJ) Meet at The McConkey Ferry Inn on the corner of Rte. 532 and Rte. 32, Washington Crossing, PA 18977. There is some parking available on Rte. 532 just after the Inn and in other public lots nearby (within a block of the site). Coming from New Jersey, the Inn is immediately after the bridge on the right.

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information, call (609)737-2515 or email jfhwashxing@fast.net                                                                                                        
Cancelled if conditions dangerous/icy weather/extreme cold. To check, call (609)737-2515 on 12/31 or early on 1/1.

                                                                                                                                          

WATERLOO VILLAGE    
Byram

Waterloo, A Place of New Beginnings
Waterloo Village Historic Site (Allamuchy Mountain State Park)
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Waterloo, A Place of New Beginnings is an outdoor, guided, interpreted 2 mile walk.  Participants will hear about the many roles Waterloo has played throughout the history of New Jersey and the United States of America.

Hike Info
Moderate ~ 2 miles
All ages (paths are not stroller or wheelchair friendly due to uneven surfaces)..
Walk is on unpaved surfaces. Dogs on leashes welcome.
Meeting Location: Waterloo Village Historic Site parking lot

Registration & Cancellation
Pre-registration is required. To register, call (973)347-1835. For more information, email waterlooris@gmail.com
Cancelled if inclement weather. If in doubt, call (609)203-4140
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

WHARTON STATE FOREST    
Hammonton

Batsto Fire Tower Mountain Bike Ride
Wharton State Forest
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Bring your own bicycle and roll into the New Year out on tight winding wilderness trails in the New Jersey Pinelands. Venture into this storied land of the Jersey Devil and ghost towns long forgotten. Six miles of sweeping curves and perhaps to the unfamiliar a surprising amount of Ups and Downs await those that are ready for some brisk fun!

Bike Ride Info
Easy pace ~ 6 miles. All dirt trails. Minimum age: 13 yrs.
Bring your own bike – one that is good for dirt trails. Bring and wear a bicycle helmet, eye protection, weather-appropriate clothing for bicycle riding, bring water, snacks (and lunch if you plan to picnic at Batsto).
Meeting Location: Batsto Village Parking Lot. 31 Batsto Rd. off of Hwy. Rt. 542, about 9 miles east of Hammonton            

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information: Call Gil Mika at (609)567-4559, or e-mail him at Wharton.nature@comcast.net
Cancelled if dangerous/icy conditions. If cancelled, we’ll call registered participants.



WHARTON STATE FOREST    
Washington

Batsto White Trail First Day Hike
Wharton State Forest
10:00 a.m. 12:00 pm (approx)
Join a NJ Woodlands Steward for a First Day Hike in on the White Trail near Batsto Village.
                                                                       
Hike Info
Easy ~ 4 miles (additional mile possible)
Children 10 and over, with responsible adult, welcome. Service animals only, please.
Bring water, snacks, tollhouse cookies (optional), backpack if necessary 
Meeting Location: Batsto Village Parking Lot. 31 Batsto Rd. off of Hwy. Rt. 542, about 9 miles east of Hammonton   

Registration & Cancellation
No Fee Pre-registration IS REQUIRED. To register and for more information, contact John at  divding_creek@att.net
Hike will be cancelled if gusty winds or wind-chill below 25ºF, hazardous road conditions such as accumulating snow or ice, torrential or heavy rains forecasted. Hike leader will contact registered participants by phone or email if hike is cancelled.

 

                                                                                        

WHARTON STATE FOREST/ATSION RECREATION AREA    
Shamong

New Year’s Day Hike 2016
Wharton State Forest/Atsion Recreation Area
10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Start the New Year with a Hike in New Jersey's beautiful Pine Barrens. Our lunch spot will have views of the Mullica River. If snow or ice on ground bring walking stick.                             

Hike Info
Moderate pace ~ 6.5 miles
Children over 10 with parents/guardians welcome. Paths are not wheelchair accessible.
Bring lunch and beverage.
Meeting Location: Field next to the Atsion Recreation Area Office, off Route 206.

Registration & Cancellation
No registration required. For more information, email cdenneler157@yahoo.com or camperpat123@aol.com
Additional info: ocsj.org. Outdoor Club of South Jersey/Meetup for any changes due to weather. (http://meetup.com/Outdoor-Club-of-South-Jersey-Hiking) Call (609)351-2789
Cancellation info: http://meetup.com/Outdoor-Club-of-South-Jersey-Hiking (or Check ocsj.org)


WHARTON STATE FOREST    
Hammonton

Wharton State Forest
10:30 a.m.
Start your new year with a family history walk
through Batsto Village.

Hike Info
Easy ~ 1.5 miles
Families welcome (Village tracks may not be comfortable for strollers). Service animals only.
Meeting Location: Batsto Visitor Center, Wharton State Forest

Registration & Cancellation
No pets. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. To register and/or for more information: Email Batsto.history@comcast.net, or call (609)561-0024. Include your name, number of people in your party, a cell phone number and email address.
Cancelled if icy conditions. To check, call (856)275-6975.

 

ADDITIONAL HIKES

~~~THE FOLLOWING NEW YEARS’ HIKE IS ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 3RD, 2016~~~

PRINCETON BATTLEFIELD STATE PARK
Princeton

Battle of Princeton Minute By Minute Walk(Sunday, January 3, 2016)
Princeton Battlefield State Park
6:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. (on 1/3/2016)
Experience the Battle Princeton in REAL-TIME as it actually happened early in the morning on January 3, 1777, 239 years ago. There will be a surprise musket demonstration as a part of the tour. British Army Historian William P. Tatum III, a reenactor and a former Society Trustee, will trace the steps of American and British units at the same time of day as the original battle. The Battle of Princeton was the first battle won against the professional British Army and a crucial turning point in the American Revolution.  

Hike Info
Easy ~ 1 mile
Children over 14, with parents/guardians, welcome.
Wear sturdy footgear & weather-appropriate clothing. Service animals only, please
Meeting Location: Thomas Clarke House, Princeton Battlefield State Park

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register, please send e-mail to princetonbattlefieldsocinfo@gmail.com
Hike will be cancelled if snow emergency declared                                                     
We will e-mail all registered participants if there is any question about the weather. We don’t expect to cancel unless a road emergency is declared.

NOTE: This hike is on January 3

 

~~~~~Pre-New Year~~~~~
~~~~~THE FOLLOWING HIKE IS ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30th,2015~~

                                                      

PRINCETON BATTLEFIELD STATE PARK
Princeton

Afternoon Walking Tour of the Princeton Battlefield & Clarke House
Princeton Battlefield State Park
Wednesday, December 30th, 2015
1:30pm - 3:30pm
Guided tour of Princeton Battlefield. Learn about the backroad used by the Continental Army and see a recently discovered road marker.  See the Cadwalader Spy Map and learn about some of the secrets it holds.  Learn about the progress of the battle through its two main phases and how General Washington rallied the troops in the Counterattack. Hear about General Mercer and others who fell during the battle, including the first U.S. Marine to die in a landbattle.  Learn about a mass grave now a focus of a major study, and tour the Clarke House.

Hike Info
Easy ~ 1 mile
Children over 14, with parents/guardians, welcome.
Wear sturdy footgear & weather-appropriate clothing. Service animals only, please
Meeting Location: 500 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08540

Registration & Cancellation
Registration is REQUIRED. To register, please send e-mail to princetonbattlefieldsocinfo@gmail.com
Hike will be cancelled if snow emergency declared                                                     
We will e-mail all registered participants if there is any question about the weather. We don’t expect to cancel unless a road emergency is declared.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For general information about First Day Hikes, email NJ First Day Hike coordinator Diane Lowrie at diane.lowrie@dep.nj.gov

 

                    

 

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