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Hearing held on proposed ban on walk-ins to state parks

New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman was at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon for a hearing about a proposal to ban walk-ins at State Parks.  She has fought for the proposal from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, citing safety concerns at Squantz Pond State Park.  The ban would be statewide, if approved. 


Chapman said on Twitter that Danbury state Representative Bob Godfrey fought against the ban. 


The entrance to Squantz Pond is along a curved and busy roadway.  Squantz Pond routinely closes early on weekends in the summer because they've reached the car limit put in place several years ago in response to a spate of drownings.  Visitors looking to use the park after the 250 car capacity is reached are also parking around town and walking along the road. 


Chapman has been calling for a ban on walk-ins since a new Park Ranger took charge of the park.  The former Park Ranger would routinely turn people away, even though walk ins weren't expressly forbidden. 


Concerns have also been raised by officials in municipalities hosting Scantic River State Park and Rocky Neck State Park. 


The proposed regulations also adds three parks to the list of places where alcohol is banned, advances the date when leashed dogs are permitted on park beaches from Nov. 1 to Oct. 1 and formalizes the understanding between the state and the three towns surrounding Lake Waramaug about the size of boats allowed on lake waters, as well as ensuring the boats don‘t have invasive plants on them before entering the water.

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Brian Kilmeade

Local Headlines