Obviously the two shoreline campgrounds in Connecticut are extremely popular because of the beach access. The campsites are able to be booked 11 months in advance and trying to book a site can prove to be quite challenging. That's why I couldn't help but laugh when I read the title of this press release - how, exactly, would this bill "improve" access to Hammonasset campgrounds? It's already difficult to book, and now you'll have to deal with seasonal campers monopolizing 5% of the sites and other people staying on one site for weeks and weeks on end. What is this, the New Haven green? The original intent of these campgrounds was not for them to be a summer home. They are meant to be enjoyed and accessed by everyone and a continual flow of new campers every week would be a huge benefit to the surrounding communities. Currently, the maximum allowed stay at either of these parks is 21 days per calendar year. It can be broken up into small trips or done all once. Seems more than reasonable to me! But proponents of this new bill claim that those who truly enjoy staying at the campground and are there for extended periods are the ones keeping it booked during the week and taking care of their sites. So why not just let these die-hard campers stay as long as they please? In my opinion it just puts further limitations on these already over-priced, difficult to book shoreline parks. If you want to spend 2 months in the Summer at the beach - buy a beach house, or better yet find a privately owned campground on the shore and get a seasonal site. Don't monopolize public campgrounds.
So Senate Bill 85 would change the current rules regarding length of stay. It would allow families to camp for an extended period in both Hammonasset and Rocky Neck State Parks if they leave the campground for five days after every three weeks and if the sites are vacant on a first come, first served basis. The bill would also allow for five percent of the campsites to be leased as seasonal campsites for the entire summer. Keep in mind that every other campground in CT has a 14 day length of stay rule which, to me, seems pretty darn sufficient. A 3 week long camping trip in one spot, with the option of leaving for 5 days and coming back for 3 more weeks and doing it all over again? Don't get me wrong, I love camping as much as the next guy, but isn't that a tad excessive?
Oh, and here's a little camping tip for you before I go - if you are lucky enough to book one of the sites with electric hook ups at Hammonasset (frankly I think the odds are better that you'll win Powerball) you'll pay $35 a night as a CT resident. But if you prefer, you can always head up to Cape Cod, MA, camp at Scussett Beach and get water AND electric hook ups for $22 a night as an out of state resident. And along with your campground reservation comes the added bonus of not having to swim in Long Island Sound.
I think you already know where I'll be camping this Summer...