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Sleeping Giant Welcomes Visitors Again, A Year After Tornadoes Closed The Park

Davis Dunavin
Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Conn. While the park has reopened, there is still work left to be done to completely restore it after last year's violent weather.

Sleeping Giant – one of Connecticut’s most iconic state parks – is open again. The Hamden park closed for repairs after it was hit by strong storms in May 2018.

Dozens of hikers fanned out on the trails over the weekend as grounds crews mowed grass and handled other finishing touches. Hiker Walt Harris made his way back from the park’s most popular trail that leads to a stone tower on the summit.

“The damage from the tornado seems to be kind of spotty. The pine grove down here at the bottom is gone. But up above there are only certain parts where there are downed trees. and things are growing up around them. And by not having some of the trees there, it’s made it an incredibly impressive display of mountain laurel.”

Volunteers removed more than 2,000 trees from the park after the tornado hit. Julie Hulten, who’s with the Sleeping Giant Park Association, said work’s not over.

“The trails crew has been working on reblazing because a lot of the blazes were on trees, and those trees have since fallen, and we can’t use them anymore.”

Still, she’s happy to see the park come alive again.

“It’s kind of a miracle. It’s like the sun coming from behind the clouds. It’s sunshine-y and the giant is – I think happy – to have all these folks back to check him out.”

The state plans to hold a series of public meetings later this summer to discuss ways to improve the park in the future.

Hulten said she’d like to see the park add a nature center.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.