Governor Lamont Launches 2022 Connecticut State Park Season, Highlights Statewide Recreation Opportunities
Residents and visitors are urged to exercise caution Boating and swimming; Lifeguard and other great summer job opportunities remain available with DEEP
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes today kicked off the start of the summer state park season in the Connecticut before Memorial Day weekend. As Connecticut’s state park system continues to hire temporary staff for the busy summer months, some great seasonal job opportunities are available.
“Our state parks are among the region’s top tourist destinations and contribute greatly to the incredible quality of life here in Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said. “Our parks are also a boon to our national and local economy – we welcomed 13 million visitors to our national parks last year. During the pandemic, we have kept our state parks open knowing they are providing a service needed to support physical and mental health.We understand how important our parks are to people, that’s why we’ve relaunched the ParkConneCT program, and that’s why we’ve invested historic levels of funding to improve and modernize the infrastructure of our state parks. So come to the state parks this summer, have fun and please be safe.
Connecticut has 110 state parks and 32 state forests, which include 14 campgrounds, 23 designated swimming areas, thousands of miles of trails, and hundreds of thousands of acres to enjoy. State parks provide opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking, among many other outdoor activities.
A directory of all Connecticut state parks can be found online by visiting www.ct.gov/deep/stateparks.
Connecticut also operates 117 boat launches across the state on ponds, lakes, rivers and Long Island Sound. Information about these facilities can be found online by visiting portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Boating/Boating-and-Paddling.
As a reminder, the Passport to the parks The program provides that all visitors driving Connecticut-licensed vehicles can enter without paying a parking fee. This program is supported by a $15 fee ($5 per year) included with all non-commercial vehicle registrations through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. This funding provided a stable and predictable source of funding to support state park operations.
“We are so lucky to have so many beautiful parks in our state to recreate,” Commissioner Dykes said. “Through the Passport to Parks program, visiting Connecticut’s state parks is incredibly convenient and enjoyable for those with Connecticut-licensed vehicles, and the ParkConneCT program will provide access to multiple parks for those for whom transportation is a barrier. . We hope you spend time this summer at your state parks or state water bodies, having fun but also recreating responsibly and safely. And to anyone looking for summer employment, we hope you’ll consider applying to join our lifeguard program or one of our amazing seasonal opportunities.
ParkConneCT Launch – Free Public Transportation to Seven State Parks
For summer 2022, DEEP and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) will once again partner to provide and expand the ParkConneCT program, providing transit options for safe and reliable transportation to Hammonasset Beach, Silver Sands, Fort Trumbull, Osbornedale, Indian Well, Sleeping Giant and Sherwood Island State Parks. This is a free transit service that will operate Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
“We are delighted to be supporting ParkConneCT again this summer season,” CTDOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said. “From buses to shuttles and trains to trolleys, many modes of transportation get people where they need to be safely and efficiently. Providing free services for the ParkConneCT program helps expand access to these beautiful parks and beaches for Connecticut residents. »
DEEP continues to actively recruit for seasonal lifeguards and other summer jobs
Lifeguard stations are still available at several inland and coastal swimming areas, including Black Rock State Park (Watertown), Burr Pond State Park (Torrington), Indian Well State Park (Shelton), Sherwood Island State Park (Westport), Silver Sands State Park (Milford) and Squantz Pond State Park (New Fairfield). The deadline to apply is June 17, 2022. To learn more about lifeguard jobs and to apply online, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Seasonal-Employment/Lifeguard-Program.
Other seasonal jobs, including positions for park operations and maintenance, and seasonal water education assistants at many of the state park’s beaches and boat ramps, remain available. this summer. To learn more about these positions and apply online, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Human-Resources/Seasonal/Seasonal-Employment.
Campground reservations can be made now
While state parks and forest campgrounds are full for Memorial Day weekend, there is plenty of availability for the rest of the summer season. Campground reservations for all state campgrounds can be made online through Reserve America or by calling 1-877-668-CAMP (2267).
Lifeguards and swimming safety
DEEP urges all residents and visitors entering or on the water to prioritize water safety.
Water temperatures continue to be cold this time of year, despite warmer air temperatures. There is a very real danger of hypothermia for swimmers, especially children, who enter very cold water for an extended period.
State park visitors should also be aware that while there will be lifeguards on duty at Hammonasset Beach and Rocky Neck State Parks, many locations will not have lifeguards on duty. It is important to remember that water safety is everyone’s responsibility.
If you enter the water, remember:
- Parents and guardians: Watch your children. It only takes seconds for a child to drown, and it can happen silently.
- Be aware of underwater hazards: natural swimming areas may have sudden drop-offs, holes, large rocks or tree roots that are not easily visible from the surface. Diving and jumping in these waters can be dangerous.
- Swim only in designated areas and swim with a buddy.
- Take a swimming lesson: Swimming skills can help save lives. People of all ages should consider enrolling in a swimming lesson offered at local YMCAs or municipal parks and recreation departments.
- Drink responsibly: Excessive alcohol consumption impairs judgment and ability to react. Even prescription drugs can impair judgment. Swim sober.
- Know your limits, including physical fitness and medical conditions.
- Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets.
DEEP reminds all boaters that cold water temperatures create significant hazards for boaters, despite the possibility of warm air temperatures. Paddlers should exercise caution and use proper equipment, practice safety techniques, wear a life jacket (this is the law until the end of May) and avoid dangerous situations. Paddlers should always be prepared for sudden immersion in cold water. Over the past six years, Connecticut families have mourned the loss of seven paddler deaths during the cold-water spring boating season.
- Always wear your life jacket: Connecticut law requires anyone in canoes, kayaks, rowboats, or stand-up paddleboards to wear a properly fitting life jacket between October 1 and May 31. If a boater ends up in the water, a life jacket will make someone more visible to other boaters and keep them afloat, greatly improving their chances of survival.
- Don’t paddle alone: Always paddle with a partner and know how to get back into the boat if you fall overboard. When paddling with a partner, it is easier to get back into a boat or reach shore safely.
- Dress for cold water: Paddlers should dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. Water temperatures can vary widely around the state in the spring, but all are always below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is considered cold water. Immersion in cold water increases the risk of cold water shock and involuntary gasping reflex, which is one of the main causes of drowning.
- File a Fleet Plan: Make a trip plan, including details of where and when to depart and return, and hand it to someone. Call them when the navigation is over and identify who to call in an emergency.
- Maintain proper supervision: Damaged docks, pilings and trees can float in rivers and Long Island Sound. Boaters should take extra care when out on the water to look for and avoid floating debris.
To learn more about cold water boating and paddling in Connecticut, visit the DEEP Boating website at portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Boating/Paddling/Paddling-in-Connecticut.
Be a good steward of state parks
State parks belong to everyone, so everyone has a responsibility to keep them clean for the next visitor. Throw your waste in a bin or take it with you if there is none. If we all do our part, our national parks will remain beautiful for those who come after us.
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