Sleeping Giant State Park destroyed by storm; other parks closed

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Five state parks have been closed, due to danger and devastation after Tuesday’s storm.

Jacob Stadley returned to Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden on Wednesday evening to retrieve his truck. Last night, he was on top of the mountain when clouds started swirling, and the skies opened up.

Trees started snapping and crashing all around him.

“One came right down in front of me, and that was my oh [no] moment,” he said.

Related: 2 dead, thousands without power after storms strike 

It was so scary, he ran back up the mountain out of the tree line. They thought they would be safer there.

“If anybody has had the feeling of helplessness, that’s what it was.”

24 hours later, he looks at the broken trees and a state forest turned into a field. A Lexus and Mercedes are among the cars totaled by the trees. His truck was the only vehicle in the parking lot not damaged.

Related: Storm cleanup continues in New Haven County

Stadley said that as you walk towards the top of the mountain, things get worse. 

“There is no more trail. It’s just totally destroyed,” he said.

Chris Collibee, spokesperson for DEEP, says the parks are closed for a reason. Loose limbs and trees can still fall with the slightest breeze.

“If you are in an area where you have seen trees come down, and you were out in a park or recreation area, you should assume that there are branches that could fall, that could potential he injure or kill you,” he said.

Shawn Mohovich took his son for a walk on the edge of the park to look at the damage.

“Trees two feet in diameter snapped in half like toothpicks, it’s mindboggling,” he said.

And while he obeyed DEEP and did not go into the closed park, Collibee says EnCon officers were there to ask others to leave.

“Here is what you do, watch on channel 8, watch on Facebook, read your local newspaper, see the damage there, don’t come to the state park, we really can’t stress that enough,” Collibee said.

So when will they have the parks open? Some should hopefully be open in time for Memorial Day, others like Sleeping Giant, it’s a question you can’t answer the devastation so extensive, they’re not sure when it will be open and what it will look like when it is.

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