Droning in East Haddam
Do you have a drone but no-where to fly it? Connecticut's state parks don't allow the use of drones on the property, but there are several towns such as East Haddam that do.
If you're going to be flying a drone in Connecticut, you had best observe all the appropriate measures and laws for registering and operating your drone. Amazing CT has put together a guide to get you started, here. Federal guidelines are available here.
Now that your drone is ready to fly, you need to find a place to fly it! We break down our top five favorite places in East Haddam to fly:
1) Bashan Lake
Bashan Lake is one of East Haddam's three great lakes. This public lake has a boat launch located at the end of Ballahack Road Number 1 where you can also find limited parking. If you are not taking your drone out on a boat, please be courteous of the limited parking for those who are launching boats.
So long as you remain courteous of others on the lake, your drone experience can yield some beautiful action shots of boaters and swimmers as well as the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area. Just remember to make sure your drone is waterproof and buoyant!
2) Moodus River (Bernstein Preserve)
The Moodus River was once home to many different textile mills, making Moodus the Twine Capital of the world through much of the late 19th and early 20th century. The ruins of many of those mills still exist along the river and can make for some really interesting abandoned architecture shots with your drone.
It is best to access the Moodus River and its many different preserves by parking at the Bernstein Preserve just off of Falls Road, CT-149. From there you can head north to the waterfall of the Moodus Resevoir which feeds the river, or south through the village of Moodus. The most remarkable feature is the remnants of the large stone damn that powered the mills in the 1920s.
3) Chapal Farm Nature Preserve (Boot Rock Parking Area)
The Chapal Farm Nature Preserve is made up of several different areas across the borders of East Haddam and Lyme. The best location for starting your adventure is from the Boot Rock Parking Area located just off of CT-82 before the turn-off for Devil's Hopyard (Hopyard Road).
Chapal Preserve includes several different trails each about a mile long and with various geological features that are fun to navigate and photograph with a drone. Kettle holes similar to those found at Devil's Hopyard can be found along with glacial swails and vernal pools teeming with life. Just remember to be gentle and respectful of nature!
4) Salmon River
The Salmon River is another multi-town preserve that runs between East Haddam, East Hampton, and Colchester. The best way to explore the Salmon River for droning is to either take a kayak up from the Salmon River Boat Launch in East Haddam or to start your hike at Day Pond State Park. Although most of the hike-able areas are part of the Connecticut State Parks system and you cannot use a drone, there are several areas out of the way and on town preserves where a drone would be usable. Particularly if you are kayaking up the river towards Powerhouse Road in East Haddam, there are some beautiful features that would be great for drone images.
The most notable feature of the Salmon River is the Comstock Bridge. This bridge was built in the mid 1800s and, although it has undergone several reconstructions, is still standing and serves as a part of the hiking trail to Day Pond.
Don't have a kayak of your own? Rent one during the season from Quiet Kayak, based in the Sunrise Resort State Park along the southern bank of the Salmon River in East Haddam.
5) Devil's Hopyard (Chapman Falls)
The Chapman Falls parking area for Devil's Hopyard sits right at the edge of the park and is a suitable place to launch a drone. If you head north from the parking area you can fly out over Chapman's Swamp to capture some beautiful images of wildlife and its habitats.
The deep forests surrounding Devil's Hopyard are also great places to get footage and practice your flying skills near obstructions.