Wide awake

Sleeping Giant wraps its year-long nap

By on June 13, 2019

Gov. Ned Lamont abruptly woke Sleeping Giant and its loyal hikers from a year-long nap when he announced today that the park will reopen Friday, June 14, at 8 a.m.

“I am pleased that this restoration work has been completed and we are again able to open this popular state park to our residents and visitors,” Governor Lamont said. “I look forward in the coming weeks to getting out onto the trails at Sleeping Giant and seeing the restoration work first hand. I want to thank all of the DEEP staff, contractors, and most especially the Sleeping Giant Park Association and their volunteers whose generous work over these many months helped get us to this point.”

Christina Popik

Sleeping Giant closes park after tornado destruction, including an abundance of trees down or broken.

The announcement came in a press release from Lamont and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes.

“We know that the Sleeping Giant State Park reopening will be welcome news to so many people who love hiking with friends and family at the park, and are anxious to get back to these trails,” Dykes said.

Sophomore graphic and interactive design major Ariana Laneri said her parents are two people who are anxious to hit the trails. They have been eagerly awaiting the day when they can visit their daughter at campus and go for a family hike.

“Anytime my parents visited campus they kept asking me when they could hike it with me,” Laneri said. “So now I can finally hike it with them!”

The park has been closed since May 15, 2018, when a tornado ravaged the area, ripping trees from the ground and tossing them onto hiking paths, making the park unsafe for visitors.

A storm that obliterated the mountain and the surrounding area took mere minutes to wreak damage that took over a year to repair. The final repairs on the main Tower Trail were completed this week. The reopening was made possible by the Sleeping Giant Park Association, which has been hard at work since tragedy struck the park last May.

“I want to thank all of our association members and volunteers who invested so much time and effort restoring the extensive trail network at the ‘Giant’ to a safe condition, and I want to also thank the state and DEEP for allowing our association to have played such a significant role in this important work,” Sleeping Giant Park Association President Mike Miller said.

For Connecticut residents, Sleeping Giant was a relaxing and fun way to get exercise and enjoy nature. Long-time Connecticut resident, Bettina Burke, said that Sleeping Giant is one of few coveted attractions in her small state, so she welcomes the news of its reopening.

“Connecticut is a small state with not much to do,” said Burke, who is an engineering student at the University of Connecticut. “During the summer, many people find themselves passing their time at Sleeping Giant, spending the day hiking the trails. Whether you are alone or with friends, Sleeping Giant is a great getaway close to home.”

Burke noted the cleanliness and peacefulness of the park which makes it a great place to exercise and enjoy summer.

“The clean and secluded location has many great short and long hiking trails that help you keep active while also being outside in nature,” Burke said. “The reopening of the location means the opportunity for Connecticut residents to have a somewhere to exercise, getaway, and enjoy the summer weather.”

The park’s closure has been especially difficult on Quinnipiac students, who are some of the trail’s most frequent blazers.

“The university is looking forward to Sleeping Giant State Park reopening and once again providing our community with a picturesque setting to study nature, hike trails, enjoy yoga and climb Sleeping Giant to take in the gorgeous views of the Mount Carmel Campus and the surrounding community,” John Morgan, associate vice president for public affairs stated.

Madilyn Rafferty is an incoming freshman. She’s excited about the reopening because she views Sleeping Giant as part of the Quinnipiac experience.

“I’m psyched that the Sleeping Giant is reopening because I get to cherish an important aspect of Quinnipiac,” Rafferty, a nursing major, said.

Graphic and interactive design major Shikha Shah is equally as excited. As a rising sophomore, the closure has been frustrating for her because she committed to come to Quinnipiac just weeks before the tragic tornadoes touched down.

“The park was one of the reasons I decided to come to Quinnipiac because I enjoy hiking and being in the outdoors,” Shah said. “I can’t wait to finally be able to see the view of the entire campus from up there and make even more memories with my friends. I have heard that it’s an experience that you can’t leave the school without.”

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