Dart Island State Park

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Coordinates: 41°33′10″N 72°33′40″W / 41.55278°N 72.56111°W / 41.55278; -72.56111
Dart Island State Park
Connecticut state park
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
County Middlesex
Town Middletown
Elevation 7 ft (2 m) [1]
Coordinates 41°33′10″N 72°33′40″W / 41.55278°N 72.56111°W / 41.55278; -72.56111
Area 19 acres (8 ha)
Established Unspecified
Management Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Location of Dart Island State Park in Connecticut

Dart Island State Park is an island in the Connecticut River within the corporate boundaries of the city of Middletown, Connecticut, United States. It is an undeveloped and unmarked state park that is only accessible by boat. In 1918, Russell Dart donated one acre of land to the State of the Connecticut and it was designated Connecticut's 15th State Park. In 1924, Dart Island State Park was the smallest state park in the United States. The park size was later expanded to two acres by the 1932 publication of the Connecticut Register and Manual and remained at that size for nearly 80 years. The 2012 edition of the Connecticut Register and Manual next noted the increased boundary to 19 acres, the current size of the Dart Island State Park. Though it is only accessible by boat, there are no marked public boat launches in the surrounding area. Historically, Dart Island State Park activities were primarily fishing, but the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection add bird watching and boating to the list.


Dart Island State Park is a sandbar in the Connecticut River, located just north of the Hurd State Park. It is a wooded area with "typical river trees like willow, poplar and red maple."[2] The sandbar was once used by shad fisherman, who built a shed and apparatuses to manage their fishing lines. The hickory shad are known for going up the Connecticut River in "great annual runs".[2] One acre of land for the park was donated to the State of Connecticut in 1918 by Russell Dart.[3] It became the 15th State Park of Connecticut, after Bolton Notch State Park and Macedonia Brook State Park.[4] In 1924, it was the smallest State Park in the United States, still at one acre in size.[5] In 1934 the State Register and Manual, the first to list the parks and size, listed Dart Island State Park as two acres.[4] The 2012 Connecticut Register and Manual notes the increase of the Dart Island State Park to 19 acres of land.[6]

Middletown's Harbor Management Plan, notes that Dart Island "is a State Park in name only; it is considered undevelopable by the DEP's (Department of Environmental Protection) State Parks Division which has no plans for active use or management of this property."[7] Dart Island State Park as been used by the Connecticut River Raft Race Inc. as part of the Connecticut River Raft Race, a charity race. One of the routes went from the Arrigoni Bridge to Dart Island State Park.[8]


Dart Island State Park is an unmarked and undeveloped state park in the Connecticut River.[2] The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) highlights bird watching, boating and fishing. Dart Island State Park is only accessible via the water and has no roads or other marked facilities for public use.[2][9] In 1966, The Connecticut River Guide included the island as having good camping spots, but this is no longer noted by the DEEP.[10] The A to Z of CT State Parks covered the small island and noted that there were no State of Connecticut boat launches "within a distance that's canoe-able by two people who aren't particularly good at canoeing."[11] Though it was unmarked if public or private, a boat launch on the side of Oaklum Dock Road exists. During their observation of the park in 2012, it was noted that there was "gazebo enabled sunbathing and grilling on the sandbank on the edge of the park ... on a not very interesting and very bushy looking island."[11]


  1. ^ "Dart Island State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 12 September 1979. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d 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. 
  3. ^ Proceedings of the Second National Conference on State Parks at Bear Mountain Inn, Palisades Interstate Park, New York, May 22-23-24-25, 1922. Front Cover National Conference on State Parks. 1923. p. 162. 
  4. ^ a b "State of Connecticut Register and Manual (1934)". State of Connecticut. p. 227. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "State Parks Grow Rapidly In Favor". Lyon County Reporter. July 16, 1924. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Connecticut State Register & Manual (2012)". State of Connecticut. p. 262. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Harbor Management Plan- Chapter One". City of Middletown. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Pionzio, Melissa (August 1, 2007). "River Raft Race Remains Afloat". Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT)  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Dart Island State Park". State Parks and Forests. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  10. ^ The Connecticut River Guide (1966). Connecticut River Watershed Council. p. 26. 
  11. ^ a b "Dart Island State Park". The A to Z of CT State Parks. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 

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