Sleeping Giant State Park projected to open this spring

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Sleeping Giant State Park projected to open this spring

Paul Caracciolo

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The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, DEEP, announced on Monday that Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford has reopened and that Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden is projected to open this spring.

Both parks faced extensive destruction after the May 15. tornado caused damage to hundreds of trees, which resulted in extensive tree clean-up, regrading and the closing of both parks for nearly a year.

“Our first priority is to ensure the safety of all visitors to our state parks, and I want to thank everyone for their patience during these ongoing efforts and for heeding the closure warnings,” Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement. “We’re excited that Wharton Brook has re-opened and are hopeful that we’ll get Sleeping Giant back open in time as the warmer weather approaches.”

While it’s tough to accurately predict when the warm weather will return, April of 2018 seemed to be the turning point weather-wise from winter to spring. Hamden experienced record snowfall on April 2nd of last year, recording 4.5 inches of snow. The beginning of the month brought snow and temperatures averaging in the low 40s. Hamden didn’t break the 50-degree threshold until April 20th and the warmer temperatures quickly followed after that.  

DEEP, wants to make sure that the public understands that when these parks do open they will not be the same as they were prior to the May 15. tornado.

“When park visitors return to Wharton Brook State Park they will find a park that has been significantly altered by Mother Nature and the impacts of climate change,” DEEP Commissioner-designate Katie Dykes said in a statement.

Dykes also explained that even after months of work, Sleeping Giant Park Association is currently considered unsafe to the public.

“Thanks to help from the Sleeping Giant Park Association we have made significant inroads in clearing the damage along many miles of trails, however much of the park remains unsafe,” Dykes said. “Once the work of clearing and repairing the trails is substantially complete, DEEP looks forward to reopening Sleeping Giant for visitors.”