RI Joins Nation to ‘Take a Hike’ on New Year’s Day

uided nature tour kicks off at noon from Kelly House in Lincoln as part of National First Day Hikes Event

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is hosting a guided walking tour of the Blackstone River State Park and Bike Way, on New Year’s Day. The three-mile tour is part of the fifth annual First Day Hike event organized by the National Association of State Park Directors and will explore one of Rhode Island’s most treasured natural and cultural features, historic Blackstone Valley. Guided tours will be held in all 50 U.S. states as part of this one-day event.

«We are thrilled to participate for the fifth year in the First Day Hikes event and proud to host at Blackstone River,» said DEM Director Janet Coit. «This event is for everyone – from families with little adventurers to people out for a leisurely stroll; it’s an opportunity to get active while learning about the environment and our amazing network of historic parks and recreational areas in Rhode Island. These venues are beautiful, world-class destinations and vitally important to connecting Rhode Islanders with nature and a safe place to recreate and unwind. We are excited to highlight Blackstone River State Park and its fabulous Bike Way as part of this event and invite new and old friends alike to come out and join us for a healthy start to the new year.»

WHO: Guided tour led by DEM Parks & Recreation Chief Robert Paquette

WHERE: The Captain Wilbur Kelly House 848 Lower River Road Lincoln, Rhode Island

WHEN: Friday, January 1, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Rhode Island is home to a wide array of historic parks, beaches, bikeways and other recreational facilities. The Blackstone River State Park runs from Valley Falls, Cumberland to Hamlet Village in Woonsocket. A distance of nearly 12 miles, the park’s principal feature is the Blackstone River Bike Way. Beginning with an elevated boardwalk over the Valley Falls marsh in Cumberland, it follows the tow path of the historic Blackstone Canal at Old Lonsdale in Lincoln before ending at Hamlet Village in Woonsocket. As part of the tour, participants will learn about the wildlife living in the nearby river, meadows, and wooded river banks – in addition to the area’s rich industrial history dating back to the 1700s.

According to the National Association of State Park Directors, more than 41,000 people across the country participated in the 997 guided tours organized last year as part of the First Day Hikes event. This year’s tour schedule is available online at www.naspd.org. Tours are free and open to the public.

For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates. Hashtag your hike (#FirstDayHikes) to join the national conversation on New Year’s Day!