The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) said it will be taking steps to reduce operating expenses at state parks.
Included in the plan, after the July 4 holiday weekend, the department will be closing three campgrounds in the state—Devil’s Hopyard in East Haddam, Salt Rock in Baltic, and Greens Falls in Voluntown.
All other state park and forest campgrounds will close after Labor Day, with the exception of Hammonasset Beach and Rocky Neck State Park.
“Our plan is designed to reduce expenses while providing the highest quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the public and ensuring public safety,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “By carefully analyzing how and when the public uses our state park system we will achieve the savings we need while keeping much of what we offer at our 109 parks open and available to the public.”
Officials said the plan will eliminate about $1.8 million from the cost of operating the state park system.
"We will begin to roll out adjustments in our days and hours of operations and in services soon after July 4. We will also continue our analysis of park operations to identify the potential for more savings – and expect to take additional cost-cutting steps in the spring of 2017,” Klee said.
There will also be adjustments to the state beaches, like lifeguards at the shoreline parks will be scheduled five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, when the beaches are the most crowded.
State Park Beaches
All State Park beaches will remain open for the public to enjoy. There will be adjustments in the days, beaches, or areas of the beaches, staffed by lifeguards to focus on the days and locations with the largest number of beach goers.
State Park Museums and Nature Centers
Days and operating hours for some state park museums and nature centers are being adjusted after the July 4 weekend to focus on the times when the most people visit these sites:
Other museums and smaller nature centers may have slightly changed hours as well.
State Park Maintenance
There will also be reductions in the staffing for maintenance of our parks. At less-visited sites, the public will see less frequent lawn mowing and other maintenance work. The focus will be on maintenance and repairs that assure the health and safety of park visitors.
Additional Changes Expected
Commissioner Klee said, “As we move into the second part of the fiscal year, and next spring, there will likely be additional adjustments. In making these decisions, our focus will remain on serving the greatest number of people and protecting public safety.”
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