[CT Birds] DEEP Deputy Commissioner's Response to West River Boat Launch Incident

Kathy Van Der Aue kathyvda at gmail.com
Wed Jan 27 14:06:50 EST 2016

I've just received a response to the recent West River Boat Ramp incident.
I believe this is a well reasoned approach to the issue.  The message below
is from Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen:

"I’d like to respond to the questions surrounding access to state boat
launches for the purposes of wildlife viewing.  It appears that the DEEP
policy needs to be clarified for everyone’s benefit.

DEEP boat access areas are open to those who are actively engaged in
birdwatching/wildlife viewing.  As with any shared resource, we ask the
various users to be mindful of each other’s interests, which can in certain
circumstances conflict with one another.

We also ask that all users follow the regulations and signage with respect
to the particular properties, i.e., not parking in zones designated ‘No
Parking’ or blocking boat launch ramps.    We have communicated clearly
with our Environmental Conservation Police and DEEP staff that active
birdwatchers are welcome at these areas. That message has been reinforced.
That said, folks should understand the unfortunate reality that our
officers and staff all to often encounter individuals on our state lands
whose intentions are less than honorable.  All the DEEP staff take their
public service responsibilities seriously, and do their very best to employ
sound judgment in each and every encounter with the public.  To the extent
there is a concern about interaction with any officer or employee, please
obtain a badge number (if an officer) and last name from that individual so
that we may review the matter.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that during serious winter storm
events, DEEP often closes parks in the interest of public safety when staff
are not available to assist those who might become stuck in unplowed
areas.  We have historically and will continue to post those closure
notices on our Twitter account at #CTDEPOUTDOORREC   We encourage everyone
to follow us on Twitter to stay informed, or that anyone contemplating a
visit to a state park during winter storm conditions to consult this app
before heading out.

Connecticut’s natural resources are a tremendous gift to all of us.  We’ll
continue to do our best to ensure everyone has opportunities to enjoy them."

Susan Whalen, Deputy Commissioner, Environmental Resources"

Kathy Van Der Aue
Southport, Connecticut
Visit my Blog at http://naturaliststable.wordpress.com

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