New boat launch on tap for Haddam, Conn. - Soundings Online

New boat launch on tap for Haddam, Conn.

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The Connecticut state Department of Environmental Protection is planning to create a public park and boat launch in Haddam on the banks of the Connecticut River.

The Connecticut state Department of Environmental Protection is planning to create a public park and boat launch in Haddam on the banks of the Connecticut River. The DEP recently purchased a four-acre parcel there, across the river from the Goodspeed Opera House, rounding out more than 33 acres it will soon develop.

Pamela Adams, director of state parks for the DEP, says the property, to be called Eagle Landing State Park, will be an “enjoyable” space along the river for passive recreation. “It has nice water views and open space for special events,” Adams says. “The area is beautiful. The DEP looks for property like this and having water access is an added bonus.”

Eleanor Mariani, the state boating law administrator for the DEP, says it’s likely that the boat launch will be constructed before work on the park begins. “We’re always looking for more ways for people to get out and enjoy the water,” she says. “We’re still working out the details for the boat launch and the park, but we hope to begin construction of the boat launch by the spring of 2007. I think it’ll get a lot of use and will maybe help alleviate pressure at other local launches.”

Mariani says that as of now the plans for the boat launch call for a ramp that can accommodate at least two cars and trailers loading and unloading at once, a courtesy dock and parking for 100 cars. DEP officials expect to set aside at least 17 acres for the park.

The state began purchasing land for this project in June 2003, says Connie Kisluk, a property agent with the DEP’s land acquisition and management division. She says the state bought a 17.4-acre parcel west of the railroad tracks for $1.35 million and a 12.2-acre parcel with two docks for $2.79 million. The most recent purchase, a 4-acre parcel at Marine Park, is still in the review process. That site is the former home port for a popular murder mystery cruise line, Camelot Cruises. According to a statement on the company’s answering machine, Camelot Cruises has suspended the remainder of its cruises for the 2005 season.

Adams believes the construction of the park and boat launch will be a positive development for the area. “Even though it took a while to close on the separate parcels, it was all worth it,” she says. “I think this makes a lot of sense and that it’ll be a nice addition to the state’s parks system.”