SACKETS HARBOR — A New York State Parks First Day Hike here on Friday, New Years Day, will focus on history.

It is one of about 60 hikes scheduled Friday at state parks, historic sites, state DEC lands, wildlife areas and forest preserve trails.

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the First Day Hikes program, a partnership between the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for safe outdoor recreation, there will be no large group hikes this year. The event options for hikes range from self-guided treks to staff- or volunteer-led hikes with a limited number of participants. All hikes are subject to regional COVID-19 limitations.

Hikers at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic site event should sign in at the grand old Union Hotel building between 1 and 3 p.m. to pick up a snack and a 2021 event button.

The route, about 2 miles, will be the same as past First Day hikes at the battlefield. Those new to the event can find maps on-line or hard-copies at sign-in. Previous years’ string back packs and cotton bandannas giveaways will be available while those supplies last.

The Union Hotel is located at 401 W. Main St.

“The Union Hotel’s official naming in 1821 must have brought hope for developer Frederick White and his fellow Sackets Harbor citizens,” Constance B. Barone, site manager of the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site said in a news release. “Imagine 200 years ago anticipating the village would become a bustling lake port. What might Mr. White have chosen for his New Year’s resolution? Local residents may have resolved to become literate, prepare a spring planting for a bountiful autumn harvest, or hope to survive the financial panic of 1819 with the subsequent nationwide depression.”

Construction on the hotel began in 1818. It has hosted public meetings, auctions, political happenings, village elections, and in 1829 an elegant military ball on the second floor.

In 1972 , New York State acquired the building and rehabilitated it for use as the visitor center for the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site. In July 2000, an addition was built and it was converted to serve as the Seaway Trail Discovery Center.

Guests will have the opportunity to post their own resolutions for the new year. Hikers should prepare for diverse weather conditions. The trail route includes roadways, sidewalks and a stone dust trail. Icy conditions will mean the hike is canceled.


A list of New York State First Day Hikes, location details, format, pre-registration requirements and additional information can be found online at and

Other hikes in the Northern New York region:

— Robert G. Wehle State Park, 5182 North School House Road, Henderson. 10 a.m.

Hikers will go down Snakefoot trail along the lake and back up the Wehle Road to the visitor center. Guests will still be able to come hike on their own anytime during the day.

The guided hike is approximately 2 miles long. Leashed pets allowed.

Registration is required. Phone: (315) 938-5302.

— Wellesley Island State Park, 44927 Cross Island Road, Fineview. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Hikes will begin every half hour from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., excluding noon and 12:30. Pre-registration is required. Call 315-482-2479. Meet at the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center.

— Fort Ontario, 1 E. 4th St., Oswego.

Friends of Fort Ontario will offer free, self-guided and socially distant hikes of the 75-acre Fort Ontario National Register District from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tour will incorporate copies of original photographs of the old stone fort as well as the surrounding buildings and grounds as they appeared during the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19.

— Paul Smith’s Visitor Center, 8023 State Route 30, Paul Smiths.

Join seasonal naturalist Jesse Rock for a guided walk around Heron Marsh (approximately 3 miles) to learn about winter wetland ecology. Registration is required. Call 518.327.6241 to register and for the event’s time.

“In these challenging times, getting out into nature has been a major outlet for safe and healthy recreation for New Yorkers,” Governor Andrew M.Cuomo said in a news release. “Whether you’re taking a self-guided hike at a favorite park or discovering a new local trail this holiday season, New Yorkers have unparalleled options and destinations to embrace the outdoors this winter and bring in the New Year while remaining COVID safe and COVID smart.”

The Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust will welcome in 2021 Friday with a First Day Hike at the trusts’s 140-acre Joseph A. Blake Wildlife Sanctuary, beginning at 11 a.m.

Guests should meet at the sanctuary parking lot on Middle Road, Rutland. Depending on the weather, participants will hike, ski and/or snowshoe together along the marked trails and finish up by 1 p.m. Guests should bring along cross-country skis or snowshoes if conditions are right.

Registration is required. Call 315-779-2239, Per COVID19 safety guidelines, masks will be worn when we are not distanced from others.

The land trust hike is partially underwritten by GYMO and Cross Island Farms.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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