State campgrounds open for season, completely booked this weekend

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MADISON -- As Memorial Day weekend kicked off at Hammonasset Beach State Park, campers were pitching their tents, getting their grills ready, and flying their flags on Friday.

“We like to set up early and get our weekend started off before everybody else,” said Donna Link-Dushane of Easthampton, Mass.

Due to state budget cuts, the campground at Hammonasset opened a week later than usual. All 550 camp sites were booked ahead of the holiday weekend.

“We tried to open up a little early, let the campers kind of funnel in slowly, make it easier on everybody and not such a traffic jam,” said Mark Sulik, Parks and Recreation Supervisor at Hammonasset.

“It will be a little city here tonight. There will be so many people here,” he said.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), all 1,300 camp sites at the 10 state campgrounds were reserved ahead of this weekend.

In addition to campsites, all 38 rustic cabins, which can be found at 8 different state parks, are booked too. The cabins are relatively new, but became popular very quickly. Hammonasset has 8 cabins.

“You just need some linens and stuff, sleeping bags, some clothes and you don’t have to pack a tent and all that stuff,” said Sulik.

The cabins are 14 feet by 17 feet with two rooms and electricity. They sleep 6 people.

Hammonasset has 8 cabins.

Sulik said, “They’re pretty much booked all summer long.”

All camp sites, including the cabins, can be booked 11 months in advance. There is availability throughout the summer months.

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