CAMP COLUMBIA STATE PARK
Camp Columbia State Historic Park is one of Connecticut DEP's most recent park acquisitions. As such its public access and recreational opportunities are still being developed.
Change has been the constant throughout the 100 year history of this piece of countryside. Where once a shared landscape of farmland and woodland dominated, a campus of higher education overtook them and ruled the property for nine decades. But it too, like the farms and fields before it, lapsed into disuse allowing the woodland to reassert itself and provide us with the landscape we enjoy today.
Every new state property undergoes a period of evaluation to determine the best public use based on its location, past history, resources present, access, and other factors. Based on this scrutiny, twelve per cent of Camp Columbia's 599.99 acres became the Historic Park. Generally speaking, what is now the State Park was Camp Columbia's main Campus, including the building locations and the frontage on Bantam Lake. State Parks are typically meant for preservation and recreation. Although there are exceptions, there are usually no active resource management programs, such as timber harvesting and hunting, in State Parks.
The majority of Camp Columbia's 599.99 acre parcel was designated as State Forest. As the tree cover regrew following the camp's abandonment, forest management became a part of the care of the land. What is now the State Forest was the student's research area. Connecticuts state forests are managed for such multiple uses as growth and harvest of forest products, wildlife habitat enhancement, research, hiking, hunting and trapping.
Currently, work is being done on an interpretive trail system throughout the park to convey to the public the deep and interesting account of this fascinating and historical piece of land.
Connecticut has made state parks, forests, trails, historic sites and beaches more accessible to our residents so they can enjoy the many attractions and beauty they offer. Under the Passport to the Parks program, parking fees are now eliminated at Connecticut State Parks for those with Connecticut registered vehicles. You can view the CONNECTICUT PASSPORT TO THE PARKS
web page to learn more.