Do you work for the Park?

Sleeping Giant Park Association volunteers are sometimes asked this.

Well…it depends on what you mean by “work!” The orange T-shirted folks you see trekking around the Giant on a Sunday morning, leading a hike on a Sunday afternoon, or working amid stands of invasive plants or in the Butterfly Garden are not collecting wages from the State. They, all volunteers for the Sleeping Giant Park Association (SGPA), are rewarded only by the knowledge that they help protect and preserve this geologic feature, known for generations as the Sleeping Giant.

Who’s who? What IS the difference between the Sleeping Giant Park Association and the State Park staff? Although we work together for the Park, we are not at all the same.

The Sleeping Giant State Park staff works in an official capacity for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP); they work diligently and with dedication to meet the goals and fulfill the responsibilities delineated on DEEP’s website:

  • To manage the Park as a whole
  • To maintain the parking and picnic areas, the Tower, and the Tower Path
  • To enforce State regulations and execute State initiatives
  • To ensure the safety of Park visitors
  • To support the State’s efforts towards conservation and protection of our natural resources
  • To integrate Sleeping Giant State Park into the statewide system of “lands and resources [acquired] … to meet the outdoor recreation needs of the public.”

DEEP staff wear these hats!

The SGPA is an all-volunteer organization incorporated in 1924. Its mission, as stated in its bylaws, is to

  • receive, acquire, preserve, develop, and maintain land … on or in the vicinity of Mount Carmel (also known as Sleeping Giant) … for use as a park
  • cooperate with the State of Connecticut to bring the property under public ownership and control
  • perpetuate the tradition of Mt. Carmel as an historic landmark, and to save it from destruction
  • preserve/develop for the public an exceptional field for geological, botanical, and scientific study
  • In fulfilling our mission, the SGPA volunteers
  • maintain a Board of Directors who meet periodically throughout the year to ensure that the goals of the Association are being met
  • meet annually with the membership to hold elections, report on activities, and solicit input

SGPA volunteers wear these hats.

To meet our goals, the SGPA

  • publishes the Giant News, reporting on items of historical, scientific, and recreational interest
  • updates the maps and guides (Nature Trail and Geology) made available free for all park visitors
  • offers items related to the Sleeping Giant for sale in its Trading Post to help support SGPA projects
  • organizes and leads a series of themed hikes each year, open to the public free of charge
  • meets weekly to remove trash, clear blow-downs, remove trail hazards, and refresh trail blazes
  • leads groups of volunteers to remove/eradicate invasive species
  • provides support for visiting school groups
  • mentors community service and Eagle Scout projects for trail improvement
  • speaks about the Giant’s history and about current SGPA activities to local organizations and at local venues

The Park personnel and the SGPA work closely together, and enjoy a cordial, co-operative, and effective relationship. Together we create the best “Park experience” we can…for you, your friends, and your families.

Go! “Take a Giant Hike!” Enjoy!

This article was written by Julie Hulten and originally appeared in a previous issue of Giant News.