Connecticut State Parks and Forests COVID-19 Updates
Governor Lamont is urging all Connecticut residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home” to help minimize community spread of COVID-19.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has released a revised Connecticut State Parks and Boat Launches Operational Plan (July 2).
Please check the What's Open Outdoors website for information on swimming areas throughout the state. The website is updated frequently, but may not reflect daily closures. This website is maintained through a partnership between DEEP and the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association. Please follow @CTStateParks on Twitter for daily State Park updates.
In accordance with Governor Lamont's Executive Orders 7 and 7R, the trails and grounds of Connecticut State Parks and Forests are open for solitary outdoor enjoyment. If you plan on visiting a park, it should be for solitary recreation, not group activities. Please plan ahead as many amenities and indoor facilities are closed, and visitors are encouraged to follow these guidelines to enhance social distancing:
Reducing community spread of coronavirus is imperative, and DEEP asks visitors to Connecticut State Parks and Forests to take the following steps to enhance “social distancing” when enjoying the outdoors.
- If you’re not feeling well, stay home!Signs and symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- Rather than traveling to some of the most popular spots, for example, Hammonasset Beach State Park, Sleeping Giant State Park, or Bluff Point State Park, try a park you may not have visited before or one close to your home. Because most park and forest facilities do not have open restrooms, visitors are encouraged to plan a trip to a nearby park for a short, local visit.
- If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park or trail, or return another day or time.
- Observe the CDC's minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people, whether you’re walking, biking, or hiking. Practice it and know what it looks like.
- Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell, or horn.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to the park. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and equipment.
- Bring water or drinks. Public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers.
Access, Amenities, and Changes to Operations:
Entrance Fees: All state parks can be accessed by Connecticut residents free of charge, supported by the Passport to Parks program.
Park Closures: DEEP will be monitoring visitor capacity at the state’s most popular parks and may reduce the parking threshold to further limit the number of visitors and help to prevent overcrowding.Due to challenges in maintaining appropriate social distancing, Kent Falls State Park and Seaside State Park (Waterford) will remain closed for the duration of the Public Health Emergency.
In addition, the boardwalk at Hammonasset Beach State Park and the boardwalk connector from the parking lot at Silver Sands State Park are closed. Park visitors will have access to the beach area and are to abide by directional signage posted at the parks.For up-to-date information on park closures, follow @CTStateParks on Twitter.
Restrooms: To prevent community spread of COVID-19, indoor spaces at State Parks and Forests are closed. Public restrooms will be closed at most state parks. Be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms. DEEP has developed guidance for staff for enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures for certain surfaces and features.
Indoor & Outdoor Facilities: DEEP’s indoor spaces, museums, nature centers, and most bathroom facilities are closed to prevent community spread of COVID-19. DEEP is identifying specific locations and features within parks and forests where people tend to congregate, such as observation towers and picnic pavilions, and will limit access to those structures. Please use your judgment in avoiding spaces where 6 or more people are gathered and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
Camping: The partial opening of the camping season at Connecticut State Parks and Forests will take place on July 1, at which time the 14 state park and state forest campgrounds will begin to open, but initially only to RV campers with existing reservations and who have a self-contained RV with a working bathroom/water system. All campground reservations that were made for stays up through and including July 1st will automatically be cancelled and refunds will be processed. Those wishing to re-book that portion of their reservation for July 1st and later may do so through Reserve America without being charged a new reservation fee.Campgrounds will open to all campers (including tent campers) beginning on July 8th. Camping cabins will not open at this time, and reservations will be cancelled with full refunds processed.
Classes: In-person environmental education programming, including Conservation Education and Firearms Safety and Aquatic Resource Education classes, have been temporarily halted, but on-line education opportunities will continue.
DEEP will be closely monitoring state and federal guidelines for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and will make further adjustments to state park and forest operations as needed. More tips for safe enjoyment of outdoor spaces are available from the National Recreation and Parks Association at www.nrpa.org. Please visit: Connecticut State Parks, follow us on Twitter @CTDEEPNEWS and @CTStateParks, and facebook.com/CTStateParks.
Content Updated June 8, 2020