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Visitors to state parks, boat launches urged to plan ahead

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut State Police, and municipal leaders are reminding visitors to state parks and boat launches to plan ahead, arrive early, and have a back-up plan in mind in case the location of your choice is full and closed to new visitors upon arrival. 

State Parks such as Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield often fill to capacity on the holiday and other nice summer weekends. Once capacity is reached the park is closed and new visitors will be turned away. Parking illegally outside of a park can result in a ticket or your vehicle being towed.

At Squantz Pond State Park specifically, on nice weekend days in the summer, more visitors arrive to visit than can be accommodated at the park.  Each year, traffic congestion, parking issues, and visitors being turned away contribute to a disappointing experience for many would-be visitors.  

“New Fairfield welcomes all visitors to Squantz Pond State Park,” New Fairfield First Selectman Patricia Del Monaco said.  “We want everyone to have an enjoyable and safe experience while visiting New Fairfield, and ask that everyone observe posted “No Parking” signs once the Park has reached capacity.”

“We know that Squantz Pond is an attractive day trip for many people inside and outside of Connecticut. We encourage people to enjoy all state parks safely and consider other destinations within our state,” Colonel Stavros Mellekas, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police, said. “We continue to work in collaboration with CT DEEP, the town of New Fairfield and other locations to develop strategies that allow everyone to visit and safely enjoy our natural resources.” 

If you do go to New Fairfield to visit Squantz Pond State Park, there is no parking allowed on nearby streets outside of the park, unloading near the park, or any other violations of posted traffic signage.  Violations can result in vehicles being ticketed and/or towed. Once capacity is reached, the park is closed, and will remain closed for the rest of the day.

Up-to-date closure notifications are posted on the CT State Parks Twitter account @CTStateParks, and on the “What’s Open Outdoors” page of the DEEP website. DEEP recommends checking these prior to venturing out to a park, and to have a back-up plan in mind ahead of time in the event a park closes while you’re en route. It’s important to remember that many State Parks and Boat Launches reach capacity and close early on holidays and nice summer weekend days, with some smaller state parks reaching capacity by 9:00 a.m. 

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Rich Valdes

Local Headlines