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POLL: How Should Connecticut Handle Admission to State Parks?

The issue is in the forefront of Enfield residents' minds due to the recent trashing of the Scantic River Park West.

The recent controversy surrounding the misuse of the Scantic River State Park in Hazardville has generated considerable discussion on and on social media web sites like Facebook.

Patch contributor Rich Tanguay spent several hours cleaning the park last week after July 4th revelers left a considerable pile of garbage along the banks of the river.

Dozens of cars were parked illegally on the side of Powder Hill Road, in the middle of dangerous S-curves. Vehicles were also parked on private property adjacent to the Powder Mill Barn on South Maple Street.

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More than half the cars bore out-of-state license plates, mostly from Massachusetts.

State and local officials took notice of the concern and began taking steps to control the situation. On Sunday, by for illegal parking.

A considerable amount of online debate has focused on who should be allowed to access the park, which is state property.

Enfield Patch would like your opinion on the subject. We have created a poll to see how citizens feel about fees and access to state parks.

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below the poll.

Steve Moriarty July 10, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Have an old fashion military style "police call". Get everyone in the park to line up, start them to move forward and pick up all the trash. Do this every few hours. Those who do not participate get the boot out of all Enfield parks permanently. This is our community and these are our parks, respect them.
Robbie Tangreti July 10, 2012 at 05:50 PM
"...by telling them their slobs and disrespectful..." Well they are exactly that, slobs and yeah, it IS disrespectful.
Susan July 10, 2012 at 05:51 PM
I think we have to look at success. Look to what other states are doing, NY has an Empire Pass for a low fee if you are a resident and $65(I think worth it) if you are not you can get in all NY State Parks for free. The parks offer beautiful ameniteis and wonderfoul trails and camping(extra fee). We should look to this take back Powder Hollow and run it under Parks and Rec. find extra parking some where and charge to get in if you are NOT a resident of Enfield!
BigTitan July 10, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I still don't understand how a fee will do anything to stop people from littering and parking like idiots.
Robin L. Doiron July 10, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I agree with just about EVERYTHING!! You bring it in, YOU TAKE IT OUT!!!! Even the DOG POOP~CARRY A SANDWICH BAG TO PICK IT UP, YOUR DOG...YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!!! Alot of these people doing things that make other people upset, I ask you: how would you feel if someone trashed your yard like this? You spend money to beautify, someone else throws they're trash there, you have to clean it up...it's EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING INSIDE THE PARK!!!! No need to be a slob in a place sooo beautiful, peaceful, and a nice place to hang out on a nice, sunny summer afternoon!!!!
Lin Chojnicki July 10, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Many of the folks who frequent this "free" swimming hole, probably won't pay a fee if/when one is instituted, and thus will look elsewhere to hang out. Most of the "holiday crowds" are simply here because the word's out that this area is a free for all - because there are no restrictions - no rules - no regulations. So start implementing rules, start charging fees, start penalizing for littering, parking violations, public drinking and drug use, and the park "clientele" will definitely change. Show me a State park that allows swimming that doesn't charge a fee or have rules and regulation? The Scantic Park is currently a "loophole" in the State of CT DEEP system. High time to close the loop.
Charlotte July 11, 2012 at 02:33 AM
It is so much more than the litter left behind. The park has been taken over by foul language, drugs, excessive drinking and disrespect of the people walking through. The locals who once enjoyed this area can no longer bring their own kids there. The element that has been brought to this once quiet part of town is disturbing. But we all knew that was going to happen which is why we protested it from the beginning. It's time to fix the mistake.
BM July 11, 2012 at 03:46 AM
I think there really needs to be more parking. It's a nice place, but people who come to enjoy it are going to be penalized due to insufficient parking. CT has excellent parks, however we're not utilizing them to their fullest potential. Ma for example has specific parks where residents can ride motorized vehicles provided they pay a fee and they are registered. With the amount of parks CT has, there could be one in each section of the state. As far as the garbage, if it is a state park, then there should be state employees onsite during the hours of operation to enforce the rules.
Olive3 July 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Let's not help to enable the "Respect" bar or lever even further. If people lived with respect for themselves, others and the environment we wouldn't have the need for talking about any of this. And YES, it is the parents absolute obligation to teach their children such vital rules of living in society.
Olive3 July 11, 2012 at 11:24 AM
My repeat from above: Let's not help to enable the "Respect" bar or lever even further. If people lived with respect for themselves, others and the environment we wouldn't have the need for talking about any of this. And YES, it is the parents absolute obligation to teach their children such vital rules of living in society. New: As for this trash talk, lol....people leave trash everywhere. Hampton Beach, NH is beautiful. On my last visit there I was appalled to see the glass Snapple bottles, diapers and filth left behind. The time to address this is the instant they start to walk away. The new saying applies here:" If you see something, say something". The silent minority needs to be come the speak out majority and start pushing back on disrespect and bad behavior.
Don Boucher July 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I think we should hire the guy with the German Shepard water jug carrying dog.He's there everyday and takes great pride with the area.Or put a couple of college kids to work in the parking area paid for by funds collected to use the area.....
Joe Saxton July 11, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Everybody's view on bad behavior is different. Pushing back only leads to being pushed back. A forum like this is the best way for everyone to "push back". The people who make the rules and enforce them have gotten the message.
mike caplette July 11, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Don boucher you are right. Ive known him for years and been in the woods at the hollow for years. He lives in the area. He cares for the area. Let him be the gate keeper for the area.
mike caplette July 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The main issue here seems to be that people arent just starting to leave trash at the river but that people are finally noticing and its nice to see that its been recognized. First of all trash cans dont work. Theyve tried that. They fill up and then sit there while the trash overflows. Secondly its enfield's area. Make it enfield residentz only. We need to be selfish with our towns area. Third the parking is unfixable. Its just not an area that can park an infinite amount of cars. The problem also is the people who are throwing big parties are the same group who ruined the ct river and made it disgusting and now theyve come to powder hollow to ruin it also. They dont care for the area. Theyve been kicked out or ruined all the other areas. If they are not removed, in five years the river will be completely trashed and people wont want to be there anymore. I say that because the people will not change. No people have integrity anymore. No respect. I bet none of those big partiers even know any history of the old mills or the river. Finally the man known as doc (i know him personally) should be given the job. Hes been down in the area till the state pushed him out two years ago. Now hes back. When he left, hell broke loose at the rivers edge. He can restore the area. He cares for the area. It is his home. He and wolfie (his german shephard) are icons of the area. Lets stop this nonsense before it is ruined.
mike caplette July 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Let me put it this way. All of us who have wrote on this care for the area. We are all locals who enjoy the area correctly. Only enfield residents will truly care. Lets leave it open to enfield residents only. Its not selfish. Its conservation of a great place that is taken for granted
Disgusted July 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
It's so sad that it has even come to this. As a young single parent I haven't always had a vehicle or the money to bring my kids to the beach or go to other lakes that charge you. We have utilized scantic river for many years. I thought my youngest how to swim while we were there. We hike then set up our stuff and enjoy the rapids. Anyways my point is that had I had to pay to go there we would have hardly ever used it but since everything was free we have made a lifetime of memories. Please keep the park free. Make a volunteer signup sheet for clean up and enforcing littering and parking if people don't follow the rule call the police. I know that my children and I will volunteer for clean up.
Disgusted July 11, 2012 at 02:27 PM
By the way I have always lived in enfield but currently I am living I'm east Windsor I don't want to lose my right to enjoy the park because I don't live in enfield.....
Michael Hoffman July 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
However, Connecticut government does not have the fiscal discipline to set up a dedicated fund for fees collected at the parks. All and I mean ALL money collected by the State of Connecticut disappears into the general fund. Remember "lottery for education"?
Don Boucher July 11, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Doc and wolfie would be the short term solution to a long term problem.Lasting only until the "political powers "get their act together.Also in the short term are needed immediately trash bins,porta pottie and frequent police surveillance...
Spiff July 11, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I love that dog, I see him all the time this time of year. In addition to carrying the water jugs, he often sits on the wooden fence, just like a person with his legs dangling over the edge.
mike caplette July 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM
At least a limit to only ct residents only. We pay the taxes. Only we should be able to use it. Its not like its an international tourist attraction where there is money to be made or at least break even. Don, the short term would be a long period of time considering that nothing will immediately be done. The politicians dont care whether its right or wrong. They will simple do watever they think is gonna help them be re elected or what not. If what is going on continues i wouldnt be surprised if the state wer to give back the responsibilities to enfield. They are all just looking for a paycheck. Do u really believe anyone involved in the state or enfield politics really has a deep enough interest to change things and personally go check up on it. I see it as either way that park is screwed over. Like i said trash cans wont be emptied enough, porta potties will turn in to something to vandalize and destroy and the cops drive by and see violations daily. Plus i dont believe there are to many cops if any who are gonna wanna walk out there and enforce rules.
Lin Chojnicki July 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
> I see it as either way that park is screwed over. That's probably very truth. All this negative attention is likely to shut the park down - least for a while. Once the State Health Dept is aware this is one big "outdoor bathroom" for weekend & holiday crowds, they probably have no option but to do something. Its a health issue now (let's just hope the wells for Hazardville Water are no where near this river or these "dumping grounds"). The State is also not likely to turn this property over to Town of Enfield - heck, Town of Enfield doesn't have the resources to maintain or patrol either. Officials have already said so. So how would that be a "viable" option? If the State elects to treat this park as they do other State "water parks", than everyone will likely have to pay a fee - CT residents will probably pay a lower fee, but everyone is likely to pay something to access a State park. That's how the State parks "treat" parks with water attraction/swimming. There will be no drinking allowed - the State parks don't allow alcoholic beverages. So, yes, things will change & probably for the worse.
mike caplette July 11, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I never said it was a good or bad idea to turn it back over to enfield. Simply that they could to avoid dealing with it. Also because when it was enfields responsibility things wer decent. The state took over and then things went down hill. Im not sayin they would but it may be a possibility. All the posibilities are what this huge discussion is about. Things definately will be changing and i agree that it will all be for the worst.
Lin Chojnicki July 11, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Mike, never said "you" said it was a good or bad idea .... folks can read the comments here and on FB for themselves to see there are pros and cons for the Town of Enfield "controlling" a 700+ acre park that runs through Enfield, Somers & E Windsor. Its highly unlikely the State of CT would decide to "crop out" the rapid area from state property, and just turn it over to Enfield. And even if it was a Town park, and not a State park, it still doesn't have proper restroom facilities, enough parking, rules & regulations and on-site security. So with either scenario (State or Town controlled), "someone" needs to take care of the health & security issues & the liability of hosting a "water park". Am guessing Enfield's liability manager would nix taking over such a responsibility. Why would they? All the negative attention drawn to "this situation" - the photos - the comments - are just fuel for someone in Hartford to shut the park down. The Enfield rapids could become a memory like Shady Lake in Somers, or Lake Mark, and all the other local watering holes that few knew about, but cared for.
Kristen July 11, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Charge a fee for out-of-state residents, just as CT residents are charged for using other state's parks. Use the collected money for a state park employee to monitor the park, and to hand out small trash bags, just as Misquamicut does (or used to do, haven't been there in awhile) promoting the "carry in, carry out" mentality. Neither suggestion, nor any suggestion made, will 100% solve the problem, as the problem lies with individual people.
Lin Chojnicki July 11, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Rhode Island state beaches charge RI residents a lower fee than they charge the non-residents (& they no longer hand out trash bags). Everyone pays something to use the beaches (same with the CT State beaches - everyone pays to visit the State of CT controlled beaches). Unfortunately there's no "one fix to solve everything" kind of solution here. Biggest concern is most everyone "here", is just an everyday concerned citizen, who has no real power to do anything 'cept write on this site. The officials who have the real power have been noticeably quiet throughout all of this. Their silence speaks volumes, don't ya think?
M Miller July 12, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I know exactly who you are talking about. My kids and I would always wave to this nice gentlemen and his beautiful dog. He is the first person I thought of and felt sorrow for when I read about this trash problem. How sad he must be to see the area that is obviously a quiet refuge for him and his best friend deteriorate so. Hopefully the problem will be solved soon and he can once again enjoy the beauty and peace while on his jaunts.
Sean July 12, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Powder Hollow has been a special place I've visited for 30 years when my father would take me fishing above and below the bridge. I've wanted to take my sons fishing there as well, however I would rather avoid having them witness ignorant and lazy people discard their garbage in the process of trying to enjoy the surroundings. I would be significantly frustrated as well. This is and has been a popular fishing spot for many generations of locals. I can remember viewing discarded trash, fishing line, worm boxes, bags, etc. many years back, but obviously not to the degree which is presently occurring. Littering is wrong and tickets carrying fines should be given to the abusers. I feel the 'park' needs to have some form of enforcement present, to at the very least, discourage and also educate visitors who are clearly disrespecting the environment. If these violators don't care, they should be made to realize they will be fined for not caring and reprimanded. It's shameful in this age of environmental awareness that visitors at the park uncaringly trash it.
Don Boucher July 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Sean has "nailed it" and they are my sentiments completely.At one time a few years back I looked forward to fly fishing below the bridge.But not any longer due to the exact message by Sean.My only wish is that a combination of suggestions to preserving this stream are implemented.They are all good and this has been a definate "wake up call"..
mike caplette July 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I think everyone can agree with sean. And yes lin u r exactly right. The topic isnt drawing enough attention of the people who can actually put things right.

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