Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces First Day Hikes at Massachusetts State Parks

First Day Hikes throughout the Massachusetts State Parks System on Saturday, January 1, 2022
For immediate release:
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces First Day Hikes at Massachusetts State Parks

Carolyn Assa, Communications Director

Boston Continuing a decades-long tradition, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced it is offering First Day Hikes throughout the Massachusetts State Parks System on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Organized by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Administration will offer seven guided hikes as part of the 31st annual First Day Hikes in Massachusetts to provide the public with an opportunity to incorporate outdoor recreational activities into their New Year’s Day celebrations. 

“The Baker-Polito Administration is thrilled to continue the tradition of offering First Day hikes at state parks throughout the Commonwealth again this year,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “There is nothing more invigorating than hiking through one of our beautiful parks with family and friends, and we’re pleased to offer the opportunity kick off the New Year by getting outside and exploring the wonderful natural resources we have here in Massachusetts.” 

First Day Hikes were first offered to the public in 1992 at DCR’s Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts, in an effort to encourage year-round outdoor recreation and to inspire the public to discover the Commonwealth’s impressive natural resources. Since its inception, state’s across the nation began participating in the program, and then in 2012, all 50 state park systems joined together to sponsor America’s State Parks First Day Hikes Initiative, which has since become the signature program for America’s State Parks nationwide.  

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation loves the tradition of kicking off the New Year by getting outdoors and exercising with family and friends while connecting with nature, and exploring the unique natural resources we have here in the Commonwealth,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “We are excited that the program has been so popular with Massachusetts residents and beyond.”

Throughout the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts State Parks System offers incredible natural resources for visitors to explore, as well as exceptional recreational activities, such as hiking along mountain trails, walking along waterfronts, and traversing through forests. Additionally, this year’s First Day Hikes will average one to two miles or longer depending on location. For details about the hikes, difficulty, length, terrain, and tips regarding proper apparel, please visit DCR’s website. Furthermore, participants are also encouraged to tweet, post, and tag photos on social media using @MassDCR and #FirstDayHikes.

DCR’s First Day Hikes will be offered at the following seven locations and times:

Central Region

Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, 10:00AM

287 Oak Street, Uxbridge 

Meet at the Visitor Center. Registration begins at 9:00AM. Co-sponsored by the Blackstone Heritage Corridor and the Blackstone River Watershed Association. 

Wachusett Reservoir, 11:00AM

167 Temple Street, West Boylston 

Meet at Gate 22 on Route 140 in West Boylston, GPS address: 167 Temple Street, West Boylston.


North Region

Breakheart Reservation, 10:00AM

177 Forest Street, Saugus 

Meet at the Christopher P. Dunne Visitor Center. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Breakhear. There will be  two guided hikes through the paved loops of Breakheart. The Center will remain open until noon. For more information call (781) 233-0834.

Harold Parker State Forest, 10:00AM-1:00PM

305 Middleton Road, North Andover 

Meet at the Harold Park Headquarters. Warm up afterwards with a fire and hot chocolate from the Friends of Harold Parker.  


South Region

Blue Hills Reservation, 12:00PM

840 Hillside Street, Milton 

Gather at Houghton’s Pond Recreation Area at 11:00AM. Two guided hikes and one self-guided hike begins at 12:00PM. Enjoy hot chocolate sold by the Boy Scouts.   


West Region

Great Falls Discovery Center, 1:00PM

2 Avenue A, Turners Falls 

Meet at the Main Entrance. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the Great Falls Discovery Center.

Mount Greylock State Reservation, 9:30AM /12:30PM

30 Rockwell Road, Lanesborough  

Meet at the Visitor Center Two hikes will be offered. Pre-registration required.


Self-guided Opportunities

Families are also encouraged to create their own First Day Hike adventure at a state park close to home. Additional information on self-guided hikes is available at, which features almost 70 facilities statewide.

In addition, DCR-managed ice rinks in the City of Boston will hold free public skating on New Year’s Eve (12/31/21) from 10:00AM to 2:50PM with the exception of the Steriti Rink in the North End, which will be open for public skating from 10:00AM to 9:50PM. Also, on New Year’s Day (1/1/22) Steriti Rink will be open from 11:00AM to 3:50PM. 


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces First Day Hikes at Massachusetts State Parks

Department of Conservation & Recreation 

DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.