Posted on April 12, 2021
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) recently announced that Connecticut’s State Parks system and boat launches are planning to return to providing full services to visitors during the 2021 season, with some state campgrounds already accepting reservations.
Personal and group compliance with COVID-19 precautions, mask wearing, and maintaining social distance practices will be essential to the safety of park visitors and staff, and DEEP’s ability to ensure maximum safe access to these valuable resources.
There is a current 200-person limit for outdoor group activities in Connecticut, which may be further adjusted throughout the recreation season. Most park buildings, museums, nature centers, and other enclosed structures, including restrooms, will be opened on Memorial Day weekend. Six feet of social distancing must be maintained at all times while inside park buildings, along with adhering to mask wearing requirements. Visitors who do not abide by these rules may be asked to leave state park property.
For a list of every state park in Connecticut, please visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Listing-of-State-Parks.
The following is a summary of outdoor services and amenities at various locations administered by DEEP:
- Swimming permitted at shoreline and inland state parks based on DEEP’s assessment that visitors to Connecticut State Park beaches can be accommodated in conformance with public health guidance. While masks should not be worn during active swimming, masks can be used by individuals engaged in wading at water levels below the waist and is encouraged when wading areas are crowded and continuous distancing is not possible.
- Lifeguards will be on duty at DEEP’s eight inland and all shoreline beaches if adequate staffing recruitment allows. DEEP anticipates lifeguard crews will begin working on Memorial Day weekend. Beaches without lifeguards will be posted with signage that reads, “No lifeguards on duty.” Lifeguards will be provided training to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the course of their duties, including providing CPR.
- State park and forest campgrounds, rustic cabins, youth group, river camping, and backpack camping sites will open during the spring for the 2021 season on a reservation-only basis. The campground reservation system is open for new campground and cabin reservations. These decisions are based on current public health guidance, cleaning protocols and the availability of adequate staff and appropriate PPE. Any changes to these expectations may result in adjustments to camping opportunities. Group campsite renters are responsible for being aware of and complying with current guidelines on mask wearing and group size.
- Permanent food concessions will operate at Rocky Neck, Hammonasset Beach, Gillette Castle, Silver Sands, and Sherwood Island State Parks, and are scheduled to open on May 29, 2021. Visitors are required to follow social distancing signage and must maintain six feet of separation while standing in line.
- Public restroom and bathhouse facilities will open on Memorial Day weekend. Portable toilets are available in certain other locations. The public is reminded to carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- State boat launches will continue to remain open to the public. The use of a state boat launch is low risk and can be safely utilized when patrons follow commonsense safety practices, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings. Environmental Conservation Police Officers and Boating Division staff will be monitoring activities at state boat launches to ensure social distancing compliance. If the public health strategies provided on signage are not complied with, staff will advise and educate users or take additional actions, as necessary.
- The Boating Division expects heavy demand for boating access again in 2021. Boat launch capacity closures will continue to be announced through Twitter (@CTBoatingInfo). Boaters are encouraged to check the Boating Division’s Twitter account before heading out. The Boating Division will continue to be active on social media to highlight the smaller, out-of-the-way launches to encourage boaters – especially paddlers – to take advantage of all 117 launches. The Boating Division website contains information and directions for all 117 state boat launches.
For more information or to read the full press release, please click here.
In a concurrent announcement, the governor said $2 million in state funding is anticipated to be approved Friday, April 16, by the State Bond Commission. Those funds will be used to fund statewide repairs and maintenance works at Connecticut state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas.
Examples of projects that will be funded through this bond allocation include:
- grading and filling of gravel roads;
- building repairs such as roof, window and door replacement;
- heating and ventilation system repairs;
- plumbing, electrical and water system repairs, toilet building, maintenance facility and minor building repairs;
- replacement of picnic tables, grilles, fire rings and other park and campground amenities;
- timber rails, decking materials, grading and filling of parking areas; and
- security gates, including replacement materials.