DEEP: All 107 State Parks and 32 State Forests Ready for Summer Memorial Day Weekend Brings Traditional Start to Park Season

May 22, 2013
 
All 107 State Parks and 32 State Forests Ready for Summer Memorial Day Weekend Brings Traditional Start to Park Season
 
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that all state parks and forests will be open for the traditional Memorial Day weekend’s start to the summer season.  DEEP encourages all state residents and visitors to spend time outside this year and enjoy the recreational opportunities available at the state’s parks and forests. 

Highlights visitors will see this year include:

State Park Centennial Banners – The Connecticut State Park system will be celebrating its 100th anniversary during 2013–2014.  One very visible component of this 18 month-long celebration will be colorful banners located at most of our parks announcing this event.

Rustic Camping Cabins – Camping cabins are now available at a number of state park campgrounds.  Twenty-two new cabins are open and ready to be reserved for this summer’s enjoyment.  They are located at Black Rock in Watertown; Hammonasset Beach in Madison; Housatonic Meadows in Sharon; Kettletown in Southbury; and Lake Waramaug in Washington.  More information about the cabins can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/camping, and reservations for cabins – as well as all campsites – can be made at www.Reserveamerica.com

Kent Falls State Park, Kent – The entrance and parking area of the State Park have been redesigned and repaved.  This new realignment of the parking area will provide additional safety as more cars will be able to move off of Route 7 as they enter the park.

Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill – The “Discovery Room” at the park has been given a complete re-design and facelift.  This popular destination for children and adults was recently completed as a joint project of the state and the Friends of Dinosaur State Park.

New State Park Smart Phone APP available – CT State Parks has now launched the Official CT State Park and Forest APP for iPhones, Android and other smart phones.  The app is available free from your “app store” and provides a wealth of information about our parks, as well as cutting edge GPS mapping and other features. Details about the “app” are available at CT State Park and Forest App.

“The 2013 summer season promises to be one of the very best in the history of our park system,” said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.  “As we head into the celebration of the Centennial of our parks it is more attractive than ever for families to get out and have fun in the outdoors."
“Our parks offer everything from camping, hiking, swimming, and picnicking to boating and fishing,” Esty said.  “In addition there are historic sites, educational programs, great vistas, and simply the chance to get away from the rush of modern life and reconnect with the world of nature.”

Swimming areas and Lifeguards

DEEP has designated swimming areas at 23 of our State Parks, and provides lifeguards at 11 of those facilities.  For a listing of those facilities, visit us at www.ct.gov/deep/lifeguards.  Lifeguards at state parks are on duty from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.  We are still recruiting qualified guards for the 2013 season in some locations.  For more information call (860) 424-3200 or visit or www.facebook.com/CTStateParkLifeguards

Camping

DEEP offers 14 campgrounds with more than 1,400 campsites in 13 different state parks and forests.  To reserve campsites at state park and forest campgrounds go online at Reserve America or call 1-877-668-CAMP (2267) toll-free.

Park Passes

There has been no increase in park pass fees for 2013. State residents are encouraged to purchase a state parks season pass, which sell for $67 for residents and $112 for out-of-state residents.  The pass covers the cost of parking at major state parks where daily parking fees are charged.

Park passes can be purchased at most park locations and the DEEP Bookstore.  To find a location to purchase a park pass, visit the DEEP web site at www.ct.gov/deep/stateparks or call the Division of State Parks at (860) 424-3200.

Those without a park pass, who must pay the entrance fee at the gate, can use a credit card (MC/VISA/Discover) at several locations, including Dinosaur, Gillette Castle, Rocky Neck, Hammonasset and Sherwood Island State Parks.

Social Media Outreach – DEEP State Parks is now on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTStateParks   DEEP also hosts a boating page (www.facebook.com/BoatingInConnecticut) and a page for lifeguards (www.facebook.com/CtStateParkLifeguards) in addition to the DEEP’s main page (www.facebook.com/ctdeep). 

DEEP State Parks is also on Twitter:
Follow us at:
Twitter.com/CThammonasset   /@CThammonasset
Twitter.com/CTrockyneck     /@CTrockyneck
Twitter.com/CTsherwoodislnd / @CTsherwoodislnd

Seasonal Positions

DEEP expects to fill between 500 and 600 seasonal positions during the recreation season including up to 100 lifeguard positions.  Seasonal positions are still available in certain areas. Visit DEEP’s website at www.ct.gov/deep for more information.

No Child Left Inside®

No Child Left Inside® was introduced in 2006 and is designed to reconnect children with the outdoors, showcase the recreational opportunities available in Connecticut’s state parks and forests, and build the next generation of environmental stewards.  This year, as part of the No Child Left Inside®, the DEEP is again sponsoring the Great Park Pursuit.  The No Child Left Inside® website has all of the news and information a family needs to get started. For more information please visit www.NoChildLeftInside.org.

State Parks Interpretive Program and Nature Centers

There are programs in 22 state parks and forests with approximately 40 seasonal interpreters conducting programs on the natural cultural and historic aspects of Connecticut State Parks and Forests.

Programs consist of live animals presentations, bird and wildflower walks, canoe programs, marine exploration, museum tours, and astronomy programs.

Parks with interpreters include:  Gillette Castle, CCC Museum at Shenipsit, Sherwood Island, Dinosaur State Park, Hammonasset, Rocky Neck, Kettletown, Sherwood Island, Putnam Memorial and Peoples State Forest, Kellogg Environmental Center/Osborne Homestead Museum, Goodwin Forest, Stratton Brook, Heublein Tower, Fort Trumbull, Fort Griswold, Chatfield Hollow, Black Rock, Topsmead, Harkness, Mashamoquet Brook and Squantz Pond.

Boating

DEEP owns and/or operates 115 boat launches statewide on ponds, lakes, rivers and Long Island Sound, 15 of which are in State Parks.  Log onto www.ct.gov/deep/boating and select "Locate a Launch" in the Featured Links, to find a launch.  DEEP reminds all boaters to boat safely by wearing a life jacket and boating sober!

Fishing

Connecticut is fortunate to have over 180 public lakes and ponds and thousands of miles of rivers and streams teeming with a variety of gamefish and panfish.  Anglers continue to report excellent fishing conditions in nearly every lake, pond, river and Long Island Sound.  Great places to spend time with the family and to fish include our trout parks which have been heavily stocked since the opening day of trout season.  Details to help you with your fishing experience, including purchasing your license can be found at www.ct.gov/deep/fishing or by calling 860-424-FISH.  Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctfishandwildlife.

General Information

For more information on Connecticut’s State Parks, visit the DEEP web site at www.ct.gov/deep/stateparks or call the Division of State Parks at (860) 424-3200.