Haddam Island State Park

Haddam Island State Park is an undeveloped 14-acre (5.7 ha) island in the lower Connecticut River in the town of Haddam, Connecticut, in the United States. Originally used by the Wangunk tribe, the island was reserved for their use as part of a 150-square-mile (390 km2) land sale to English colonists in May 1662. In the 19th century, the island was used for fishing and farming. The early 20th century saw it as a place of public recreation, and the State of Connecticut purchased the island and made it a state park in 1944. The park is only accessible by boat, and recommended activities are boating, fishing, and birdwatching.

Haddam Island State Park
Map showing the location of Haddam Island State Park
Map showing the location of Haddam Island State Park
Location in Connecticut
LocationHaddam, Connecticut, United States
Coordinates41°29′30″N 72°31′02″W / 41.49167°N 72.51722°W / 41.49167; -72.51722Coordinates: 41°29′30″N 72°31′02″W / 41.49167°N 72.51722°W / 41.49167; -72.51722[1]
Area14 acres (5.7 ha)[2]
Elevation10 ft (3.0 m)[1]
DesignationConnecticut state park
AdministratorConnecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
WebsiteHaddam Island State Park


The English settlers in the Connecticut Colony originally named the island Thirty Mile Island because it was erroneously believed to be 30 miles (48 km) north of the Connecticut River's mouth. The original English settlement in the area was called Thirty Mile Island Plantation. In May 1662, an area of 150 square miles (390 km2) of land, including the island, was sold by the Wangunk tribe to the English settlers for 30 coats. However, the natives reserved the right to use the island as part of the sale stipulations.[3][4] Though little documentation exists today, the Wangunk tribe lived on the island and in the surrounding area before selling it along with the rest of their land.[4] Recorded deeds show that the Wangunk tribe made another land sale in 1672, and the remaining parcels of Wangunk land were sold between 1765 and 1769.[4][5]

At the close of the 18th century, the island was one of the most important fishing locations on the Connecticut River.[3] By 1819, the island was listed as 18 acres (7.3 ha) in area and was expected to increase in size following the construction of a pier 90 rods north of the island, which caused the accumulation of sand at the head of the island.[6] The island is currently listed as 14 acres (5.7 ha) in size.[2] In the 19th century, two fishing companies operated from the island and constructed piers, and the island was also used for grazing cattle and farming corn.[3] Records in the late 19th century indicate that the Haddam Island area of the Connecticut River was dredged annually.[7] The island became a popular recreational area with picnics and private events in the beginning of the 20th century. The island was purchased by the State of Connecticut in 1944, and it became a state park. According to legend, Captain Kidd buried some of his treasure on the island, but none has been found.[3]


Haddam Island State Park is home to a large number of bird species, especially during annual migrations, which make it suitable for birdwatching. Bird-banding and other research activities have taken place on the island. Other recommended activities are boating and fishing.[8] Access via boat is available from the Haddam Meadows State Park boat launch, a half mile south of Haddam Island.[9] The northern side of the island has a beach that is fragile and cannot support heavy visitation, and the island has a significant amount of poison ivy.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Haddam Island State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ a b "Appendix A: List of State Parks and Forests" (PDF). State Parks and Forests: Funding. Staff Findings and Recommendations. Connecticut General Assembly. January 23, 2014. p. A-2. Retrieved March 20, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Parks: Haddam Island State Park". The Haddam Historical Society. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Gleysteen, Will (May 4, 2014). "Haddam Island and the Wangunk Tribe". Trinity Banter. Trinity College. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  5. ^ Burkett, Jillian (May 9, 2014). "Compliation [sic] of Wangunk Land Records". Trinity Banter. Trinity College. Retrieved December 26, 2014.
  6. ^ Field, David Dudley (1819). A Statistical Account of the County of Middlesex, in Connecticut. Middletown, Connecticut: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences. p. 9.
  7. ^ United States Congressional serial set, Issue 4280. Washington Government Printing Office. 1901. p. 1168.
  8. ^ "Haddam Island State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  9. ^ "Haddam Meadows Boat Launch". Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. June 1, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  10. ^ Leary, Joseph (2004). A Shared Landscape: A Guide & History of Connecticut's State Parks & Forests. Friends of the Connecticut State Parks, Inc. p. 80. ISBN 0974662909.

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