Cleanup continues more than two months after a tornado hit Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden - one of several tornados that touched down in Connecticut during severe storms in May.
Damage was significant said Tom Tyler, Connecticut’s director of state parks, and crews are still working in several areas of Sleeping Giant.
In the main arrival area, there are now almost no standing trees. For many years, that’s been a densely forested and shaded picnic grove.
“Pretty much every tree was either knocked down entirely or sheared in half, halfway up or splintered in a way that it needed to be removed, so really the damage was pretty total”, said Tyler. “You can now be in the parking lot and have a view of the top of mountain and the Sleeping Giant’s chin, which you couldn’t have for at least generations.”
He said the park’s most popular hike, The Tower Trail, is almost cleared out.
“But there are some top reaches of the trail that we haven’t been able to remove the heavy trees that are down,” he said. “We actually have to bring in some equipment to break some rocks that are limiting some hairpin turns, to get heavier equipment higher up.”
There are 32 miles of back country trails still need to be cleared.
Though Tyler calls the damage “tragic,” he said it’s also an opportunity to re-evaluate how people use the nearly 100-year-old state park today, and think about how to best welcome visitors for its next century ahead.
No date has been set for Sleeping Giant to reopen.