New Hampshire offers free guided hikes at 3 state parks to kick off the new year

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CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire outdoor enthusiasts suggest resolving to start the new year off with a guided hike in one of three state parks.

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, along with several retail sponsors, are offering guided hikes as part of national effort to get people outdoors.

More than 28,000 people participated in First Day Hikes nationwide last New Year's Day.

In New Hampshire, First Day Hikes will be offered at Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey starting at 11:45 a.m., at Lancaster's Weeks State Park at 12:45 p.m. and at Portsmouth's Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site at 12:45 p.m.

The selected hikes are deemed to be easy to moderate.

The hike in Weeks State Park is billed as a pet friendly hike up the Mt. Prospect auto road — a 3.2 mile hike roundtrip.

The shortest and easiest hike is the 1.5 mile walk in Portsmouth along the Little Harbor Loop Trail, estimated to take one hour.

"We are excited to host First Day Hikes as part of this national effort to get people outdoors and into our parks. First Day Hikes are a great way to cure cabin fever and burn off those extra holiday calories by starting off the New Year with an invigorating walk or hike in one of our beautiful state parks," said Phil Bryce director of NH Division of Parks and Recreation.

First Day Hikes began more than 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year marked the first time all 50 state park systems have joined together to sponsor First Day Hikes.

More information is available on New Hampshire's state parks website at http://www.nhstateparks.org.

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