Campers React to State’s Decision to Close Campgrounds

The unofficial end of summer came early for thousands of people who made plans to camp in Connecticut when all state campgrounds closed Sunday afternoon in anticipation of Hermine.

Campers at Hammonasset Beach State Park woke up to a picture perfect morning and some expressed confusion as to why they had to leave.

“Some people just set up yesterday, yesterday late in the day they got to leave today,” said John Carroll of Guilford.

Governor Dan Malloy’s decision to close the state’s 11 campgrounds came while there was still a fair amount of uncertainty about the forecast. The potential for storm surge flooding and wind gusts was enough of a threat to call for the campground closure.

“I understand they rather be safe than sorry so we go along with that judgment,” Patty Stein of Vernon said.

As the storm crept closer to Connecticut it looked like the impact would be less than originally feared.

“I think it was a little premature. I think they could have waited until this morning. A lot of people started to leave last night because they’ve got a long way to go,” Carroll said.

“It’s disappointing but you understand you got to weigh safety versus the enjoyment of the weekend,” Greg Mattesen of Portland said. “I can kind of understand it but it’s disappointing, but we’ll live with it. We’ll come back next year.”

While some campers didn’t waste any time waiting for the campground to close, packing up and heading out, others like Frank Mayhew soaked up every last minute before it was time to leave.

“We’re just taking our time. Somebody has to be last,” Mayhew, of Middletown, said.

Hammonassett Beach State Park and Rocky Neck State Park both stay open through the Columbus Day. Anyone who has a reservation for later in the week is asked to call on Tuesday afternoon to find out when both of these parks will reopen.

Refunds are available for anyone with reservations during the closure through Reserve America.

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