Fall camping could be cut at Hammonasset

(WTNH)–For those who want to spend next Columbus Day weekend in the great outdoors they won’t be able to make camping reservations at Hammonasset State Park just yet.

Because reservations for the campsites can be made 11 months in advance folks would normally go on line now for the October holiday but the reservation website says the camping season only extends until noon September 4, 2017 – which is Labor Day.

“Kind of a drag because the campers themselves make it a pleasant walk because they’re out there doing their thing,” says Al Sanzari of Madison. “It’s beautiful.”

Sanzari along with other walkers know why campers would enjoy being able to stay at Hammonasset in the fall when it’s cooler, colorful, and less crowded.

“It’s beautiful it’s all year round,” says Lou Campanaro of Madison who walks four miles there everyday with his son John.

Lately though they’ve been navigating through construction sites around the state park.

“They’re spending millions of dollars here.. so they can more than afford to keep the park open for the campers,” says Campanaro.

In June DEEP, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, lost about $10 million in funding so it’s not sure it can keep Hammonasset’s campground open past Labor Day. That’s why it won’t take reservations it might have to cancel. Even with cancellations the state would still have to pay the vendor’s $9 transaction fee for each one.

“Weekend business probably doubles or triples because of the campground,” says Deb Mulqueen who owns Hammonasset Package Store. “So it’s a large percentage maybe 70 percent.”

Mulqueen sees a lot of fall campers come into her store which is just up the road from the park’s main entrance.

“They want to go when the children are gone and back to school so yeah so it would impact us yes,” says Mulqueen. “It would impact all the stores.”

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