Note: This is part two of a four part series regarding the future of the Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT. Part 1 reported on the new Shoreline Greenway Trail parking lot, part 2 reports on the new rustic cabins, part 3 will focus on the new West Beach Pavilion, and part 4 will inform readers about the new Meigs Point Nature Center.
On a March 28 driving tour of Hammonasset State Beach Park by Hammonasset Park and Recreation Supervisor Harry Alves, I saw the concrete foundations for six new rustic log-style cabins that are being built at the end of “S” Street in Area 1 of the park’s campground.
“The new cabins are being built at the highest elevation of the park,” Alves said, adding that the ” flood plain perimeter changed to accommodate a 500-year hypothetical flood.”
State Parks and Public Outreach Director Tom Tyler, from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), explained that the estimated cost for the six camping cabins is $217,000, which came from state general obligation bond funds. Work began on March 10, 2014 with completion projected for May 23, 2014.
Tyler said that the last amenity added to the campground was in the spring of 2013 when a $10,000 playground was installed with a jungle set, swings, and exercise equipment. It was donated by Friends of Hammonasset.
The cabins will be identical to the two overlooking the fields leading to West Beach, in the campground’s Podunk section. Alves said they are very popular. Folks who rent out the cabins “see what camping is about without investing in equipment” while others “just like the cabins, they come back time and time again,” Alves explained.
Tyler said that “the two cabins have been in use since summer of 2009. They brought in $75,000 to the state ‘ s general fund, or roughly $15,000 a year.”
According to a department press release, they were the first cabins in the state park campground system.
The release also stated that the cabins were assembled from a kit costing $20,000 per cabin. Funding came from a state park enterprise fund which provided incentives for the parks division to build revenue generating programs.
The newer cabins cost more because they included the expense of having a contractor assemble them rather than park staff, who built the first two, Tyler explained.
The press release stated that each 14-foot-by-18-foot cabin has a nightstand, a rustic table, four chairs, and a six-foot covered porch with a six-foot extension out on a landing for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible ramp.
Each cabin has two rooms for sleeping six people, with a double bed mattress in the front room and two sets of bunk bed mattresses in the rear room.
While there is no kitchen or bathroom in the cabin, there are toilet and shower facilities nearby.
According to the 2014 Camping in Connecticut brochure, the Hammonasset cabin camping fee is $70 per night for Connecticut residents and $80 for non-residents, plus a 15% Connecticut room occupancy tax and seven night rental minimum.
Additionally, the campground has 60 pop-up/tent sites, 45 standard electric sites, 6 ADA electric sites, and 440 standard non-electric sites.
For Connecticut residents, standard campsites are $20 per night while campsites with electric and water hook-up are $35 a night.
For non-residents, standard sites are $30 each night while campsites with electric and water hook-up are $45 a night.
There is a $9 fee for reservations or a $3 fee for walk-ins for all campsites.
Reservations can be made between May 23 and Oct. 13. Walk-ins are accepted for all campsites, except cabins, from May 16 to May 22.
There are also three open air picnic shelter pavilions that can be rented in the park. All have a 65-person capacity, 12 picnic tables, two pedestal grills, are ADA accessible, have no electricity, and no running water.
They cost $220 to rent per day, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a $9 reservation fee and Hammonasset’s parking charge. Reservations can be made from May 24 to Oct. 13 with walk-ins accepted April 2 to May 23 and Oct. 14 to Nov. 11.
Alves said camping is quite popular at Hammonasset, Connecticut ‘ s most attended park, which had 175,000 campers in 2013 and 2.2 million overall visitors with “attendance slowly increasingly consistently.”
To make reservations for cabins, campsites, and pavilions, visit www.reserveamerica.com or call 1-877-668-CAMP. Additionally, the Hammonasset Campground Office can be reached by calling 203-245-1817 and the phone number for the Hammonasset Park Office is 203-245-2785.