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Ring in 2024 with New Year’s Day hikes around Connecticut

File: A family taking a  walk at Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut on a sunny day.
Christopher Badzioch
Getty Images
File: A family taking a walk at Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut on a sunny day.

Connecticut’s state parks and forests invite residents to kick off 2024 in the great outdoors.

The annual First Day Hikes series is back Monday with 18 free, guided hikes in 17 locations around the state.

“The first day hikes are definitely an opportunity for people to get outside, to explore, to learn, to try something new and do it in kind of a healthy way to start off the year,” said Kristen Bellantuono, who runs the program for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The hikes range in strenuousness from casual strolls to more challenging treks.

“You don’t have to be an expert, you don’t have to be a novice, we just want you to get outside and, you know, maybe you don’t want to call it ‘hiking,’ maybe you want to call it ‘walking,’” Bellantuono said.

This year’s offerings include a historic journey through Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, a dog-friendly walk in Scantic River State Park in Broad Brook, and an educational jaunt through Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill. More information on the hikes and how to sign up is available at DEEP’s website.

Chris Polansky joined Connecticut Public in March 2023 as a general assignment and breaking news reporter based in Hartford. Previously, he’s worked at Utah Public Radio in Logan, Utah, as a general assignment reporter; Lehigh Valley Public Media in Bethlehem, Pa., as an anchor and producer for All Things Considered; and at Public Radio Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., where he both reported and hosted Morning Edition.

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