Connecticut state park visitors asked to pick up after themselves

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ENFIELD – Workers at Connecticut’s state parks are trying to keep the natural spaces as pristine as they can with limited resources and they’re asking the public to do their part too.

Dennis Schain, spokesman at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), said workers deal with litter at parks around the state, but visitors at Scantic River State Park in Enfield seem to be the worst offenders.

“We are concerned though that this is sort of an emerging trend. People seem to have a little less respect for the outdoors and the whole ethic of picking up after yourself,” said Schain.

Scantic River, particularly the Powder Hollow section, has been a problem spot for years. DEEP has responded by adding several trash cans and banning alcohol at the park.

Schain said during Tuesday’s warm weather, the park was extra busy and again, visitors left behind piles of trash and waste.

“It’s kind of sad that people can’t pick up after themselves especially because it is a park where we do have garbage cans for people to put their trash,” said Schain.

Workers typically clean the park twice a week, but they were back a third time Thursday to clean up that mess.

This is happening at a time where staff is limited due to budget cuts. After the last round of layoffs, there are only 35 full-time maintainers left to take care of the 110 state parks and 15 state campgrounds.

“How unfortunate to think of us having to expend an inordinate amount of our scarce resources on picking up people's garbage, better for our staff to make repairs, undertake projects to improve the parks,” said Schain.

DEEP is asking visitors to any state park to leave the spaces as clean as they find them, to use trash receptacles if they are available, and if not, to carry out what they bring in.