Hike and social distance in CT state parks, forests
While Gov. Ned Lamont is urging Connecticut residents to stay home to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the state parks and forest remain open — as long as visitors practice social distancing.
The state Department of Energy and Environment Protection said the trails and grounds of all 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,” DEEP said.
Those planning to get in some alone time at one of the state parks or forests should keep in mind that most park and forest restrooms are closed, DEEP said.
DEEP’s indoor spaces, museums and nature centers are closed to prevent any community spread of the virus.
Anyone headed to the state parks should bring water since public drinking fountains may be disabled — and should not be used during this time even if they are working, DEEP said.
The agency reminded residents that if they notice crowds forming at a park to choose a different park, trail or come back a different day.
“Instead of choosing a more popular spot like 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,” DEEP said.
The full list of state parks can be found on the DEEP website.
“When on a trail, warn other users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance. Step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times,” the agency said. “Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.”
That distance, encouraged by the CDC, is at lest 6 feet away from others while walking, biking or hiking.
The agency will continue to monitor visitor capacity at the state’s most popular parks and might reduce the parking threshold to limit the amount of visitors to prevent potential overcrowding.
DEEP urged any residents not feeling well to stay home.
The opening of camping season at state parks and forests has been postponed until Memorial Day weekend in May, unless a further delay is deemed necessary.
All campground reservations made for stays prior to Memorial Day weekend will automatically be canceled and refunds will be processed.
In-person environmental education programming, including Conservation Education and Firearms Safety and Aquatic Resource Education classes, have been temporarily suspended. Online education opportunities continue.