Silver Sands State Park

Location: Silver Sands State Park

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Location Description

Silver Sands is Connecticut’s newest shoreline state park. The state acquired the area in 1955 after Hurricane Diane destroyed several homes along the shore. This beautiful park used to be a garbage transfer station for Milford. However, the Department of Environmental Protection was able to restore the landscape. Now, visitors can enjoy the park's scenic boardwalk and wonderful beach. The park is also home to Charles Island. It is located approximately half a mile from Silver Sands' shores. The island is connected to the beach by a sandbar that appears at low tide. According to legends, Captain William Kidd buried treasure on the island as he sailed up the Connecticut coast. In the 1920s, the island was a Catholic Retreat and according to the Department of Environmental Protection's Robert Clapper, Northeast Utilities purchased the island in the 1990s and intended to use it as a location for a nuclear reactor. Now, Charles Island is a protected rookery for herons and egrets and is restricted to visitors from May to September.

Visit: A Place for Birds
Having been told that Silver Sands State Park used to be a giant landfill, I wasn't expecting to see stretches of tall, swaying reeds growing on gently sloping hills upon arriving at the park. Media Lab Staff member, Sara, interviewed the Department of Environmental Protection's Rob Clapper while Media Lab Supervisor, Paul, was on camera. After the interview, Rob guided us along a wooden boardwalk that led to the beach. We could see garbage peeking through the ground along the boardwalk, however, the area was teeming with wildlife. We saw tiny crabs crawling along the ground, seagulls hovering above the reeds, and ducks floating down the waterways that wound through the grounds. Once we got to the beach, Rob took Sara and Paul on a guided tour of the beach while the other staffers and I got to hang out on the beach with the other DEP staff. We were able to get a better view of Charles Island from the beach. During his interview, Rob said that the island is a protected rookery for egrets and herons and is closed to the public from May to September because it is mating season for these birds. The DEP's Joe Maler told us that a sandbar, which starts from the beach and leads to the island, appears at low tide. He also warned us that it is dangerous to walk out to the island because of the unpredictable tides. Joe said he has heard too many stories of people being swept off the sandbar. As we waited for Sara, Paul, and Rob to return from their extended shoot, we were able to get our feet wet in the cool ocean waters, collect a few shells, and take some pictures. It was a fun shoot. We learned a lot about the park and were able to enjoy all that it had to offer.

Interviewer: Sara Ponticelli

Videographers: Paul Pfeffer, Sarah Krauss, Julia Kwon, Sarah Furie

Photographer: Sarah Krauss

Editor: Julie Kwon

Animator: Sam Hockaday

Crew: Stephanie Merkel

Manager of Online Content: Paul Pfeffer

Director of Online Services: Derrick Ellis

Web Designer: Lauren Nauheimer

Many thanks to Robert Clapper and Joe Maler of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection

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