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With Budget Cuts, State Shortening Park Hours, Closing Connecticut Campgrounds

CJ Oliver
Creative Commons
Devil's Hopyard in East Haddam
These changes will cut park operating costs by $1.8 million.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced they are shortening hours at state parks and campgrounds.


The announcement comes after a $10 million cut from the organization’s budget. DEEP now has a state park budget of $18 million and taking these measures will cut park operating costs by $1.8 million.  


Three Connecticut campgrounds — Devil’s Hopyard in East Haddam, Salt Rock in Baltic, and Greens Falls in Voluntown — will be closed after July 4. The rest of the state campgrounds will remain open through Labor Day.


DEEP spokesperson Dennis Schain said that state officials did detailed analysis of the state’s most used campgrounds and parks to determine what services would be cut or reduced.


“Those three were the least used, the data showed much less use than at other grounds,” Schain said. “We tried to look carefully and do things logically.”


At state park beaches on Connecticut’s shoreline, lifeguards will be on duty five days a week as opposed to seven as they had been previously. Inland beaches will have lifeguards three to five days a week, but DEEP said they will have lifeguards on weekends, which are busiest.


Credit Ethan M Long / Creative Commons
Creative Commons
Hammonasset Beach

Schain said he understood public safety concerns, but that of the 23 state park beaches, only eight of them had guards to begin with. Those that didn’t have guards, Schain said, have designated swimming areas.

“People need to obey the rules and use common sense, keep an eye on things especially with youngsters,” Schain said.


Other parks -- including Dinosaur State Park, Gillette Castle and Heublein tower -- will remain open until Labor Day with shortened hours.


DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said DEEP hopes to take additional cost-cutting steps next spring.


Katie Burns is a WNPR intern.


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