DEEP Announces 2021 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Parks Division is celebrating the start of Spring today by announcing the 2021 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge!

The Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge began in 2015 to promote hiking in Connecticut’s state parks and forests. This year’s challenge is a great opportunity to hike “Bridges, Footbridges and Boardwalks” that are part of 20 trails within various Connecticut State Parks and Forests. Those who complete the challenge will receive a “Sky’s the Limit” hiking staff medallion and certificate to commemorate their accomplishment!

“Sky’s the Limit is a great way to explore Connecticut’s state parks and forests while joining others in a friendly challenge to visit all 20 locations handpicked by those who know the parks best – the staff of our state parks system,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “Our state parks and forests, which are free to enter for those driving Connecticut registered vehicles thanks to the Passport to the Parks program, are such tremendous resources for us in this state, and their importance was underscored in 2020 by the significant increase in usage we saw due to the pandemic. We anticipate that will continue this spring and summer, and the Sky’s the Limit Challenge is a great way to get acquainted, or re-acquainted with many of our wonderful state parks.”

Participants in this friendly competition have the opportunity to receive a medallion and certificate for hiking to 15 designated locations. For hiking all 20 locations, 50 people will receive a hand-carved hiking staff. Names will be drawn from all who complete the 20 designated hikes.

Go here for more information on this year’s challenge, including the specific locations for taking photographs.

2021 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge Locations:

Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill
Lovers Leap State Park, New Milford
Silver Sands State Park, Milford
Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
Black Rock State Park, Watertown
Chatfield Hollow State Park, Killingworth
Collis P. Huntington State Park, Bethel, Newtown & Redding
Southford Falls State Park, Oxford
Wharton Brook State Park, Wallingford
Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middletown
Peoples State Forest, Barkhamsted
Ferry Landing State Park (DEEP Marine Headquarters), Old Lyme
Kent Falls State Park, Kent
Cockaponset State Forest, Chester & Haddam
Sherwood Island State Park, Westport
Devil’s Hopyard State Park, East Haddam
Stratton Brook State Park, Simsbury
Salmon River State Forest, Colchester
Osbornedale State Park, Derby
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme

DEEP encourages every visitor to State Parks and Forests to “Love Your Public Lands” and be environmental stewards. It is important to carry out what you carry in, even if a trash receptacle isn’t in your immediate vicinity. Visitors are encouraged to learn about and practice the philosophies of environmental stewardship programs such as Leave No Trace to ensure that our public lands remain clean and healthy for the organisms who inhabit them, and the next person visiting them.

Participants are asked to practice safe social distancing when in State Parks or Forests. Keep a minimum of six feet of distance from other people, wear your mask when passing near other people, and allow proper distance when encountering others by ceding the trail to allow others to pass. If you’re not feeling well, stay home.

The Connecticut State Park system was founded in 1913 with the creation of the State Park Commission. One year later the Commission purchased its first land, about four acres in Westport for what became Sherwood Island State Park. Today, Connecticut has 110 state parks and 32 state forests attracting more than 9 million visitors each year, generating over $1 billion in economic activity for the state and supporting 9,000 private sector jobs. Those driving Connecticut registered motor vehicles are provided free entrance to the parks thanks to the Passport to the Parks program.