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More Daily Park Closures Expected This Weekend Ahead of Warm Weather

Continued Social Distancing Key to Keeping Parks Open as Nice Weather Arrive

With nice weather forecast for this weekend, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) anticipates several state parks will reach capacity and be closed for the day, as has been the case on nice weather days over the last several weeks, particularly on weekends. It’s important to note that such closures are temporary, and parks closed in this fashion can be expected to re-open the following day.


DEEP has implemented lower capacity limits at parks to keep visitor numbers at a level that can support good social distancing.  Lower capacity closings help DEEP to keep the park system operating, and the public safe, during a time when many other recreation options are not available.  Understanding the likelihood of closures this weekend, DEEP wants to remind residents of several things, to ensure that parks can continue to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic:


Visit a less-traveled park, earlier in the day:  Well-known parks such as Sleeping Giant State Park, Talcott Mountain State Park, Penwood State Park, Southford Falls State Park, Wadsworth Falls State Park, C.P. Huntington State Park, and Squantz Pond State Park often reach capacity quickly and close for the day. Other popular spots, such as Gillette Castle State Park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, as well as other shoreline parks, have also reached capacity in recent weeks, and will likely continue to have capacity-related closures with more consistently nice weather.  DEEP encourages visitors to spread out and try other “hidden gems” around the state. For a list of the 142 state parks and forests Connecticut has to offer, visit


Plan ahead: Once you’ve selected a park (perhaps one you haven’t been to before!), check DEEP’s state parks Twitter feed, @CTStateParks, to make sure the park isn’t already closed. A park may close while you’re en route, so it’s important to have a back-up plan. That could be another state park in the area, a trail maintained by another organization, such as the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (, a land trust (, or a local municipal park. If you arrive at a park and find it is closed, you should move on to Plan B.  Don’t linger at the park, and don’t try to park outside and walk in. Parking and walking into a park that is closed due to capacity is not permitted during the public health emergency, and such action could result in a fine.


Enjoy parks safely: If you do visit a state park or forest, it’s important to do so safely. Parks remain open for solitary recreation or recreating with members of your immediate household in groups no larger than five people. Picnics are not permitted at this time, and DEEP recommends that you keep your visits to state parks brief. Be aware that restrooms and most other facilities are currently closed. While outdoors, it’s important to observe proper social distancing, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Department of Public Health. That means keeping a minimum of six feet of distance between yourself and others and taking care to maintain that distance when encountering others on the trail or elsewhere by surrendering the right of way where necessary. Masks or cloth face coverings must be worn in accordance with Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7BB in public places where a safe social distance of six feet can’t be maintained.  DEEP recommends visitors to state parks and outdoor recreation areas be prepared and wear a mask when they are unable to maintain proper social distancing. For a complete list of DEEP’s social distancing recommendations in the outdoors, visit


DEEP continues to monitor and assess public use and recreational activities that occur at state parks and other DEEP managed outdoor recreation areas. These efforts are intended to determine that adequate social distancing is being maintained based on the unique resource or recreational activity that is occurring there. If there are instances where adequate social distancing is not being observed or there are concerns that the property cannot support certain recreational activities, expedited decisions have been and will continue to be made to close certain natural or constructed park features or entire parks or other outdoor recreation areas. To date, DEEP has closed Kent Falls State Park and Seaside State Park, the boardwalk connector that runs from the parking lot at Silver Sands State Park, and the tower at Sleeping Giant State Park for the duration of the public health emergency.

Further closures or reductions in parking capacity at certain parks may become necessary as more consistently nice weather arrives. Efforts will be made to notify the public of operational changes in advance but there may be instances where immediate closures will be necessary without advanced notice.

In the meantime, DEEP encourages residents to continue to do their part to keep themselves and others safe in the outdoors, so that these outdoor resources that can provide us with so much relief during this stressful time can remain open.

“On the whole, our parks staff have reported that Connecticut residents have been doing a good job observing these safety recommendations and restrictions when in our state parks, and we commend them for that,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “We encourage residents to stay the course and continue these good practices, particularly as beautiful weather arrives and the urge to spend more time outdoors increases. We’re all in this together.”

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DEEP Communications