NORTH HAVEN — Enjoying a respite from quarantining at home, Phillip Dozier Sr. retrieved his fishing rods and helped his sons show his two grandchildren how to cast a line at Wharton Brook State Park on Sunday.
Due to the pandemic, Dozier said he mostly stays home except for the essentials, such as grocery shopping. Without large crowds around the pond, he sees a day of fishing at Wharton Brook as fairly safe.
“Most of the people I’ve seen here haven’t been wearing any masks, but they’ve been keeping a safe distance,” Dozier said.
With walking trails, picnic tables and plenty of open space, Wharton Brook also gave the grandkids room to find their own games to play if they didn’t find fishing as interesting as the adults. The park is located on the North Haven-Wallingford line.
The Department of Energy and Environment Protection continues to limit the capacity of state parks like Wharton Brook, closing parking lots when parks reach capacity. Wadsworth Falls State Park, in Middletown, reached capacity shortly before noon on Sunday and some parks with walking areas too narrow to allow social distancing, such as Kent Falls State Park, remain closed.
Despite the sunlight and warm temperatures, Wharton Brook remained sparsely populated on Sunday, with only a handful of groups along the pond at any given time.
With plenty of extra time with their kids while working at home, Kristen Pandolfi, of Southington, said her family has been rediscovering the outdoors during the pandemic.
“I think that’s probably the best thing that’s come out of this: more time outside … more time bike riding, more time together,” she said.
They’ve mostly been been going out around their home, but to celebrate their son’s sixth birthday the family decided to go on his first fishing trip Sunday.
“Hopefully he’ll catch something, it’ll make his day for sure,” she said.
Across the pond, Josh and Lindsay Wos set up a small tent and had lunch on the sand. Since they’ve both been working from home, being able to get outdoors was a nice change of scenery without breaking social distancing.
Living near Hubbard Park in Meriden, the couple said they were glad to see that Wharton Brook didn’t have the crowds of people that made social distancing difficult.
“It seems like there’s clusters of people here and they’re trying to keep their distance,” Josh Wos said.