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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
Elizabeth Masa and Russ Lapierre of the Western Mass Hilltown Hikers, which led a First Day Hike on January 1, 2023.

Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts around New England took part in First Day Hikes — a national New Years 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
Hikers joined a First Day Hike at Chester-Blandford State Forest in western Massachusetts on January 1, 2023.

“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.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.