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Conservation groups organize free #FirstDayHikes to start the new year

A group of Cape Codders hiked Sandy Neck at Sunrise on January 1, 2022, the first year #FirstDayHikesCapeCod was organized.
Courtesy of Barnstable Land Trust
A group of Cape Codders hiked Sandy Neck at Sunrise on January 1, 2022, the first year #FirstDayHikesCapeCod was organized.

Perhaps the most common New Year’s resolution is to get more exercise. This year, 10 conservation groups are looking to help Cape Codders do just that with the second annual First Day Hikes initiative.

Barnstable Land Trust, the Friends of Herring River, and Chatham Conservation Foundation, among others, are hosting 11 free, guided walks, talks, and hikes on Sunday. The goal is to encourage locals to explore Cape Cod’s parks, trails, and natural resources.

"We're so focused on devices these days. We spend a lot of time indoors,” said Janet Milkman, executive director of Barnstable Land Trust, who helped organize the initiative on Cape Cod. “And there's so much to see and learn right outside our door that's free and so healthy for us — mentally, physically, emotionally.” 

People can take a sunrise hike in West Dennis, tour the Atwood Higgins House in Wellfleet, or bring kids to learn about turtles on a walk in West Barnstable.

“So if you’re used to hiking, for example, in Falmouth and you want to explore a little bit,” Milkman said, “here's your opportunity to get a free guided hike in the Outer Cape or Mid-Cape. “

The scheduled activities in Falmouth, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Harwich, and Truro, and beyond, can be found on the Barnstable Land Trust’s website. Each event is expected to last for one to two hours, and they’ll cater to a range of physical abilities.

Milkman advises those attending any of the 11 activities to dress for the weather, to bring an extra layer, and pack a water bottle.

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.