DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s way of saying Happy New Year: Go take a hike.
It’s become a New Year’s Day tradition around Connecticut for DEEP to host free guided hikes of Connecticut’s state parks. The goal was to promote health and wellness — to encourage people to take strides towards accomplishing that resolution we all seem to make — and break — to exercise more and improve our fitness.
“It’s so important to get people out hiking,” said Diane Joy, from DEEP. “It’s a great way to get some really good exercise and start the year off right.”
They’re called First Day Hikes. They stepped out in Connecticut and at state parks across the country as part of an effort to get Americans to enjoy state parks and discover the beauty around them.
“It’s part of a national initiative,” said Joy. “The National Association of State Park Directors came up with this idea to put on these hikes and Connecticut started doing it back in 2012.”
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It seems to be working with hikers News 8 talked to at Osborndale State Park in Derby.
“I did it last year and it was so much fun that I wanted to set the goal and do it again this year,” said Dana Palermo, a hiker. “I can’t believe how many state parks we have that I’ve never seen — how much beautiful landscape we have in Connecticut that I have never seen.”
Liz Jones loves the health aspect. She is among the many making a New Year’s resolution to incorporate more physical fitness into her lifestyle.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I always want to be healthier.”
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Some of the hikes around Connecticut were cancelled today because of the bitter cold, but a spirited group of about 30 people bundled up for the brisk hike in Derby and they say they are glad they did.
“Yes!” Liz said.