Outdoor groups, park officials host First Day Hikes across New England

Elizabeth Masa and Russ Lapierre of the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, which led a First Day Hike on January 1, 2023. (Karen Brown / NEPM)

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts around New England took part in First Day Hikes — a national New Year’s Day tradition that began in Massachusetts 30 years ago.

A few dozen people made their way to the Chester-Blandford State Forest, where the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers joined representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation for a First Day Hike.

Most hikers wore crampons for the icy walk to the Sanderson Brook Falls, which were gushing from the recent rains.

Hikers joined a First Day Hike at Chester-Blandford State Forest in western Massachusetts on January 1, 2023. (Karen Brown / NEPM)

“It’s starting the new year out right,” said Elizabeth Masa, president of the hiking group. “You’re trying to do all your New Year’s resolutions in one shot. So you’re getting out into nature, you’re getting fresh air, you’re getting exercise.”

The tradition originated at the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts in 1992 and this year, state park officials led 32 First Day Hikes across Massachusetts.

Some of the excursions now include cross country skiing, polar plunges and snow shoe expeditions.

This story was originally published by New England Public Media, a partner of the New England News Collaboration.