DEEP Reminds Visitors to State Parks this Weekend to Plan Ahead, Arrive Early, and Have a Back-up Plan
Parks Such as Squantz Pond State Park Fill Up Quickly and Close to New Visitors
(HARTFORD)—Ahead of the July 4th Weekend, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the Connecticut State Police, and municipal leaders remind visitors to state parks and boat launches to plan ahead, arrive early, and have a back-up plan in mind in case the location of your choice is full and closed to new visitors upon arrival.
State Parks such as Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield often fill to capacity on the holiday and other nice summer weekends. Once capacity is reached the park is closed and new visitors will be turned away. Parking illegally outside of a park can result in a ticket or your vehicle being towed. There are 110 state parks, so we encourage you to consider visiting a less frequented park where you’re less likely to find crowds.
At Squantz Pond State Park specifically, onnice weekend days in the summer, more visitors arrive to visit than can be accommodated at the park. Each year, traffic congestion, parking issues, and visitors being turned away contribute to a disappointing experience for many would-be visitors.
“New Fairfield welcomes all visitors to Squantz Pond State Park,”New Fairfield First Selectman Patricia Del Monaco said. “We want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe experience while visiting New Fairfield, and ask that everyone observe posted “No Parking” signs once the Park has reached capacity.”
“We know that Squantz Pond is an attractive day trip for many people inside and outside of Connecticut. We encourage people to enjoy all state parks safely and consider other destinations within our state,”Colonel Stavros Mellekas, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police, said.“We continue to work in collaboration with CT DEEP, the town of New Fairfield and other locations to develop strategies that allow everyone to visit and safely enjoy our natural resources.”
There are lots of other really great options to visit state or local parks that do not have the same limited capacity and congestion issues. Just a few ideas include Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, Silver Sands State Park in Milford, Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, or you can try a lesser known “hidden gem” park! More ideas for great state parks to visit can be found on the DEEP websiteor here.
If you do go to New Fairfield to visit Squantz Pond State Park, please remember that there is no parking allowed on nearby streets outside of the park, unloading near the park, or any other violations of posted traffic signage. Violations can result in vehicles being ticketed and/or towed. Once capacity is reached, the park is closed, and will remain closed for the rest of the day.
Up-to-date closure notifications are posted on the CT State Parks Twitter account @CTStateParks, and on the “What’s Open Outdoors” page of the DEEP website. DEEP recommends checking these prior to venturing out to a park, and to have a back-up plan in mind ahead of time in the event a park closes while you’re en route. It’s important to remember that many State Parks and Boat Launches reach capacity and close early on holidays and nice summer weekend days, with some smaller state parks reaching capacity by 9:00 a.m.
“We want visitors to the State Parks and Boat Launches this holiday weekend and throughout the summer to have a safe and enjoyable time in the outdoors,”DEEP Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Mason Trumble said. “Planning ahead, arriving early, and having a back-up plan contribute to a fun, relaxing time outside, which is our hope for everyone who visits a state park. We encourage visitors to be safe and to exercise good judgment in whatever outdoor activities you engage in this and every weekend, and also remind visitors to carry out what you carry in with you, and ensure that any trash created during your visit is properly disposed of or carried out with you. The parks belong to all of us, and we all have a hand in keeping our parks beautiful for the next person to enjoy.”