Newspaper Asks for Flexibility in State Camping Regs

December 1, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Editor’s Note: This editorial was first published in The New Haven (Conn.) Register.

Some flexibility is needed in a law that limits campers’ stays at two shoreline state parks — Hammonasset Beach in Madison and Rocky Neck in East Lyme — to 21 days each year.

The need for review of the law limiting stays at two of the most popular and largest state parks is the result of its haphazard enforcement.

At other state parks, campers can return after taking five-day breaks.

Campers at the shoreline parks have been allowed to follow the same policy of being able to return after taking breaks.

The 21-day yearly limit was intended to give all campers a fair chance to use the parks and their beaches.

At the height of the crowded summer vacation season, some campers can be shut out.

The problem of letting as many as possible use the state campgrounds is aggravated by campers who take up permanent summer residence by reserving the same site under the names of different family members.

While the 21-day rule makes sense during the busy summer, it doesn’t after school starts in September, when there are many vacant campsites.

The policy bars some campers, even though there are sites available, and denies the state revenue from the camping fees.

The state will return to enforcing the 21-day per year limit next year.

That experience should guide any change to the law.

Limits on stays are needed during the summer.

But, campers who have hit the summer limit should be permitted to continue camping when there is plenty of room in the off-season.


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