DEP Reopens Tri-Mountain State Park and Portion of Mattabesett Trail After Blue Trail Range Agrees to Temporarily Close Two Shooting Areas

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The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) expects to reopen Tri-Mountain State Park, located in Wallingford and Durham, and the portion of the Mattabesett Trail that runs through it tomorrow (Friday, May 30) after the Blue Trail Range agreed to shut down for seven days both its 100-yard range as well as the already closed 200-yard range while it evaluates potential safety improvements that can be made.

DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, “We are pleased with the cooperation we have received from the range so far and welcome their decision to explore possible safety enhancements. The range has committed to consulting a range safety expert and pursuing a permanent solution. During the next week, the DEP will talk with the range owner and determine if the range can be reopened and operated without adversely impacting state property or the safety of park visitors.”

Signs posted by DEP at the state park entrance and by the Connecticut Forest and Parks Association (CFPA) along the trail to alert hikers to the closing will now be removed. Mention of the gun range already occurs in the Mattabesett Trail Guide. The DEP and CFPA have also placed signs in the park and along the trail alerting visitors to the presence of the gun range across the Ulbrich Rservoir.

“The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is aggressively investigating this issue and is devoting all necessary resources to the matter including forensics experts and other means of investigation,” said DPS Commissioner John Danaher. “We will continue to work closely with the DEP and the owners of the Blue Trail Range to take all available steps necessary to ensure public safety.”

The 100-yard range will close at the end of the day today, May 29, 2008. The 200-yard range was voluntarily closed last week and will remain closed. Both ranges will remain closed for seven days. During this time the Blue Trail Range store and trap and skeet range will remain open.