Crews continue to clean up a popular state park nearly two months after a tornado ripped through parts of the state.
Back in May, Sleeping Giant State Park was a mess.
The tornado toppled hundreds of trees, forever changing the landscape of the park.
Slowly but surely, progress is being made, but the state is stressing that there is still a lot of work left before this park opens back up.
On Thursday, heavy machinery continued to clear out the park.
“What was formerly the picnic area and the parking lot have been cleared, or in the process of getting towards the end, that doesn’t necessarily mean the park is safe, said Chris Collibee, of the state’s Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection.
For now, and for the foreseeable future, Sleeping Giant remains off limits to the public.
DEEP said the park lost hundreds of trees, and the clean up is estimated to cost between $500,000 to $1 million.
The state has applied to FEMA for a reimbursement.
“We have 32 miles of trails here at the park. They’re still heavily impacted and they’re still very dangerous. Our crews continue to hear limbs and trees falling,” Collibee said.
Before the tornado on May 15, there were towering pine trees that once provided shade for the parking area and picnic grove.
Those trees toppled over and snapped in two.
“The tower trail as you’ll see is still quite dangerous to walk on, it’s kind of tenuous. That’s where we get the bulk of traffic. When people come to the park, the 225,000 visitors that come to the park each year, the vast majority, use that trail to get up to the tower,” Collibee said.
The hope is to have the park back open by the fall, but nothing is official.
Until then, the state says there are more than 100 other state parks to enjoy and take advantage of.
“There are plenty of other nearby parks, somewhat similar that can be used. This gives people a chance to visit other parks they haven’t visited in the past,” Collibee said.
Once the park is stabilized, then comes plans for the future of this park.
How they envision this, DEEP said, is something that will be done in consultation with the Sleeping Giant Park Association and the town of Hamden.
Check out more photos of the damage here.
Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.