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Camping At Westport’s Cockenoe Island Temporarily Suspended

WESTPORT, Conn. – Camping on the Westport-owned Cockenoe Island will temporarily be suspended until further notice due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Westport Conservation Director Alicia Mozian announced.

Camping is normally allowed on the island, which is located in Long Island Sound off of Saugatuck Shores, between May 15 and Oct. 15 with a permit, said Mozian.

“Superstorm Sandy has greatly affected the island,” Mozian said in a statement. “The four campsites are barely in existence and will need to be re-established before any camping permits will be issued. Boaters may visit the island, but fires or camping will not be allowed until further notice.”

Mozian said one of the campsites may be totally inundated during high tide. The others are covered with large rocks or a foot or more of debris. The campsites will need to be rebuilt in place or relocated, she said. It is also possible that the number of sites may be reduced.

The designated fire pits have also either been disturbed, relocated or destroyed, Mozian said. With the forest fire danger level currently at high, she said starting a campfire in a non-designated fire pit would be dangerous.

As always, the heron rookery on the south side of the island will remain off limits, Mozian added. Also, shorebirds such terns, plovers and oystercatchers will soon begin nesting on the sandpit on the west side of the island, she said. As such, island visitors are asked to be extremely careful not to disturb these nesting sites as they are camouflaged and hard to see. Mozian said she hopes to have the campsites up and running as soon as possible. However, she will need help from volunteers to make that happen. Anyone interested in helping can call the Conservation Department at 203-341-1170.

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