Start off the winter outdoor recreation season with a First Day Hike at one of the 14 parks across the state hosting the free event on Jan. 1. First Day hikers can expect to be surrounded by the quiet beauty of nature in winter, with views and vistas unimpeded by foliage. Wildlife that might be spied along these walks will almost certainly include the tough and sturdy chickadees, state bird of Massachusetts, and wild turkeys, the state game bird. Watch for bald eagles near open water bodies, and keep an eye out for deer sightings, squirrels (of course!), and if you’re lucky, a red fox or fisher.
If there’s snow on the ground, the MassWildlife Pocket Guide to Animal Tracks can help identify which animals may have passed by.
In preparation for each hike, pay close attention to the details of starting time and location. Dress warmly. Wear layers of clothing and sturdy, warm hiking boots or shoes, as well as hats and gloves. Binoculars always come in handy, and do bring water.
DCR is hosting hikes in Lanesboro, Granville, Goshen, Holyoke, Wendell, Sutton, Easton, Plymouth, Falmouth, Concord, Topsfield, Milton, Dorchester and Saugus.