State Park & Forest Policies
Connecticut State Parks belong to everyone and we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of our public lands. Specific policies vary by park so be sure to check the specific park page of your destination to know what to expect. If we all do our part, our state parks will stay beautiful for generations to come.
- Alcoholic Beverages
State law requires that individuals must be 21 years of age or older to possess alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages are permitted in many state parks and forests, but not on beaches or boardwalks. Beer in containers larger than one liter is prohibited. Please check individual park pages for specific rules by location.
Groups arriving by bus must secure a bus permit by contacting Reserve America by telephone (877) 668-2267 at least fourteen days prior to the visit.
Pets on a leash are permitted in most state parks and forests, but not allowed in buildings, swimming areas, or state park campgrounds. Please be sure to remove and properly dispose of pet waste. Check individual park pages for more specific information.
- Remote Controlled Aircraft or “Drones”
Remote-control aircraft and drones pose a risk of injury to others, property damage, and disruption to wildlife and other visitors. Their use is not permitted unless specifically authorized by the DEEP Commissioner in a Special Use License.
Leave No Trace
Be conscious of your impact to ecosystems, wildlife, and other park visitors by following Leave No Trace principles.
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
In advance of your trip, learn about park regulations, check out maps, and be ready for unexpected emergencies or inclement weather.
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Stay on maintained trails and designated campsites.
- Dispose of Waste Properly
Dispose of any waste, leftover food, and litter in trash receptacles. None available? Pack it in, then pack it out.
- Leave What You Find
Take home photos and memories, but leave behind rocks, plants, and anything else you find at the park for future visitors to enjoy.
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, keep your blaze small, and put out campfires completely. Use locally sourced firewood only to limit invasive species, available for purchase at many of our campgrounds.
- Respect Wildlife
Protect wildlife and stay safe. Keep your distance and don’t disturb or feed wildlife.
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Help everyone have a positive experience. Share the trail, control pets, avoid making excessive noise, and respect other visitors to help everyone have a positive experience.
Recreational Trail Usage
- Multi-use trails
Trails and service, logging and other roads are open to non-motorized activities, including hiking, trail running, mountain biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing unless otherwise noted.
- Foot-traffic only trails
Connecticut Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails and the National Park Service Appalachian Trail are limited to hiking except where they overlap a multiple use trail.
- Motorized trails
Registered dirt bikes can ride on the motorized trail at Pachaug State Forest or at the Thomaston Dam. At the current time, Connecticut does NOT have any public areas open to ATVs. Riding an ATV on state or municipal property may result in charges of criminal trespass (Public Act 05-234).
- Public roadways
Roads are open to registered motor vehicles, including registered dirt bikes, and non-motorized multiple uses unless posted otherwise.
- See an illegal activity?
Please call the State Environmental Conservation Police (EnCon) at (860) 424-3333.
Special Use Licenses
To determine whether an organized or atypical use of a state park or forest recreation area requires special authorization, please refer to the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies 23-4-1 through 23-4-5 or consult with the agency’s Special Use Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (860) 424-3471.
The Special Use Coordinator will assess your request and advise you on the appropriate procedures to obtain.