New Fairfield officials are once again raising concerns about overcrowding at Squantz Pond State Park. The state department of Energy and Environmental Protection lowered the cap on cars allowed to park at the site from 250, to 200 over the holiday weekend.
On Independence Day, Squantz Pond reached capacity and was closed to cars by 8:15am. But New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman says the lifeguards are still strained because DEEP won't ban walk ins. DEEP officials say limiting walk-ins would have to be done through a standing committee of the General Assembly.
DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain says walk-ins are an issue at other parks, particularly with swim areas, but more so at Squantz because of its location. The entrance to the park is on a curve along a major thoroughfare, which has caused pedestrian safety concerns.
Schain says they have been working on language to limit walk-ins. He hopes to have something approved by the Regulations Review Committee and in place by next summer.
DEEP charges by the car at most State Parks and Forests. There is no fee for walk-ins.