You can begin the new year connecting with Mother Nature. New Jersey State Parks will be conducting free guided hikes, walks, interpretive tours and other special outdoor activities at 15 locations on Wednesday, January first. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said it's part of America's State Parks First Day Hikes' initiative.

"This is a great way to start off the New Year to reconnect with nature and explore the variety of activities and amenities that all of our state parks have to offer," Commissioner Martin said. "Our knowledgeable park staff and volunteers welcome the opportunity to share a great outdoor experience which we hope will carry on for our residents throughout the year."

New Year's Day free guided hikes will take place at the following New Jersey locations:

· Bass River State Forest (Tuckerton) at 11 a.m.

· Belleplain State Forest (Hike) 10 a.m.; (Mountain Bike Ride) 11 a.m.

· Cheesequake State Park (Matawan) at1 p.m.

· Grover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site (Caldwell) at 11 a.m.

· Island Beach State Park, Explore History & Ecology Hikes at 9, 10, 11 a.m., 12 and 1 p.m.

· Kittatinny Valley State Park, (Paulinskill Valley Trail Hike at Footbridge Park, Blairstown) at 10 a.m.

· Kittatinny Valley State Park, (Paulinskill Valley Trail Horseback Ride at Halsey Farm) at 10 a.m.

· Monmouth Battlefield State Park, (Manalapan) Battlefield Interpretive Tour at 11 a.m.; First Day Amble at 12 p.m.; Revolutionary Resolutions Hike at 1 p.m.

· Princeton Battlefield State Park, (Princeton) at 7:30 a.m.

· Rancocas State Park (New Lisbon) at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

· Ringwood State Park, (New Jersey Botanical Gardens, Ringwood) at 1 p.m.

· Round Valley Recreation Area (Lebanon) at 10 a.m.

· Spruce Run Recreation Area/Voorhees State Park (Highlands Trail, Asbury) 8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m.

· Washington Crossing State Park (Titusville) at 10 a.m.

· Waterloo Village (Stanhope) at 1 p.m.

· Wharton State Forest (Atsion) at10 a.m.

· Wharton State Forest (in Franklin Parker Preserve) at 10 a.m.

· Wharton State Forest (Batsto Village) at 10:30 a.m.

Additional details about registration, hike locations, difficulty and length, terrain and tips regarding proper clothing can be found at