Campers wrap up season at state parks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campers wrap up season at state parks

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State campgrounds cleared out on Monday as the season came to an end (WFSB) State campgrounds cleared out on Monday as the season came to an end (WFSB)

For many, Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer and means one last trip to the beach or barbecue.

This year in Connecticut, it means the end of camping at state parks.

Typically, campers would have another month-and-a-half left of camping at state parks, but because of issues with the state budget, or lack thereof, they closed up the campgrounds on Monday.

Vivian Sheehan and her family were packing up and heading home from camping at Hammonassett Beach State Park on Monday.

"The weather this time of year is amazing. It’s just so peaceful,” Sheehan said.

In the past, campers could make reservations until Columbus Day weekend

"You want to come and still spend your weekends here, and I know a lot of people that have been camping here for years and years and years and we are all very upset about it,” said Marta Lukaszczyk, of East Hampton.

Last year, to cut costs, the state only allowed fall camping at Hammonassett and Rocky Neck, but this year, with no budget in place, it ended the season early everywhere, wrapping up on Labor Day.

Earlier this year Gov. Dannel Malloy proposed cutting $6.5 million from the parks in a state budget.

Back in early August, when there was no budget worked out, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced it was eliminating fall camping this year.

"Things like this are what the public needs. I don't know what the use level would be, maybe they could close half of it, instead of shutting down the whole thing,” said Stefan Waldman, of West Nyack, NY.

State parks are open year-round, and staff will be around to maintain the grounds, but there are no lifeguards on duty.

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