New Fairfield Concerned About Squantz Pond Crowds
On any beautiful summer weekend, hundreds of cars can be seen driving up from New York City to stake their claim for the day at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield.
Squantz Pond has a 250 car limit. After the park is full, CT State Police begin turning cars away, so what happens? Families that have made the 90 minute drive from the city usually don't turn around and go home. Instead, they begin looking for a parking spot in private lake communities and even at the New Fairfield Town Park, which is a 1/4 mile away. I've seen families walking down Rte 39 with coolers, grills, kids, grandmas, with all the picnic accoutrements. Yes, it's dangerous!
According to an article in the NewsTimes, New Fairfield First Selectman, Susan Chapman is worried that the crush of park goers will be too much for Squantz to handle this 4th of July weekend. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman, Dennis Schain told the NewsTimes that their staff is working diligently to make sure the park will be ready for the crowds so they can enjoy a safe and enjoyable park experience.
Keep in mind that DEEP's budget for the state's parks was cut by $1.8 million, which means decreased lifeguard coverage at Squantz and other state parks this summer. From 1998 to 2011 there have been 13 drownings, which is why Chapman will be spending her 4th of July at the park monitoring the situation.
With all the walk-ins, a decrease in the lifeguard staff, and fewer state troopers to monitor the entire situation, First Selectman, Chapman is afraid that this is just setting the stage for the failed policies of years ago.