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Sleeping Giant State Park too dangerous for popular volunteer clean-up group

HAMDEN – The Sleeping Giant Parks Association Trail Crew has seen it all.

The volunteer group is known for cleaning up the park after several major storms. They cleaned up sleeping giant after Hurricane Irma, Superstorm Sandy and even last year’s October snowstorm.

“We’ve been around since the trails were actually built back in the 1930’s,” says chuck Schall, a member of the Trail Crew.

He says the group has experienced members including licensed chainsaw operators, first aid specialists and even a few first responders.

After the EF-1 Tornado hit the park Schall and his team were ready to act. DEEP however, told them to hold off. In a statement, DEEP Director of Communications Chris Collibbe said, “While the DEEP sincerely appreciates the desire by volunteers to help clear the damage at Sleeping Giant State Park, the reality is the park is too dangerous at this time for volunteers to be out clearing trails. Our top priority is the safety of all those who enter Connecticut State Parks.”

Schall says DEEP’s response just doesn’t make sense.

“We’re the people that make the trails safe,” says Schal. “We’ve been doing it for a long time. We’ve done it in severe conditions before. So it was very puzzling to us.”

Sleeping Giant is officially closed. DEEP says they expect it to reopen this Fall. The Trail Crew has not been given a timetable as to when they’d be able to start cleaning up.