As the weather gets warmer, it is a delicate balance between enjoying the outdoors and being safe. DEEP is trying to help by keeping parks at a lower capacity. Saturday was a big test of that. It was a beautiful day and people were taking advantage.
“It’s amazing! It’s finally spring,” said Kristen Medoff, who was enjoying Hamden’s Sleeping Giant State Park.
Celebrating Saturday’s gorgeous weather, people flocked to Connecticut’s state parks, forcing several to close, at least temporarily, after reaching capacity.
“I mean everyone is just trying to get out of the house,” said Joe Massa of West Haven. “I think they’re fed up with being in.”
Quarantine fatigue, combined with warmer days, means an increase at the state parks. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) says they are seeing an increase of 70 to 80 percent at some parks over last year.
To achieve social distance, DEEP is setting lower capacity limits to maintain a safer volume in the parks. They advise park goers to arrive early or select a less popular site.
“This is a great time to enjoy and discover new parks you haven’t been to,” said DEEP Commissioner, Katie Dykes, reminding people there are over 100 state parks.
Once inside the parks, DEEP is requesting people arrive in groups of five or fewer people, maintain six feet distance and wear a mask when that is not possible. While the parks themselves have massive acreage, the trails can be narrow.
“If you’re passing someone on the trail, you want to be respectful, step to the side and give people plenty of space to get by,” explained Dykes.
With a forecast for more nice weather Sunday, large crowds are expected again. DEEP is encouraging park visits, with the hope people take a safe approach like some who visited Sleeping Giant Park today.
“I’m excited to see everyone coming together,” added Medoff. “Social distance apart but everyone is exercising and putting their best foot forward.”
Anticipating more closures Sunday, DEEP wants people to know they can get real-time info on their Twitter site which is @CTStateParks.