The wait to camp in Connecticut state parks and forests is almost over. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Saturday night that camping for the summer will begin on July 8. Campers with recreational vehicles will be able to keep their reservations for dates starting July 1, with reopening for both tent and RV camping on July 8. Anyone with reservations before those dates will receive refunds. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the camping season was scheduled to start May 11. Then in early May, DEEP delayed the opening to June 11. At the time it said further extensions were possible \u201cdepending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.\u201d Now, the opening date has been set. DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said in a release,\u201cI am pleased to announce that we will have a camping season this year. It is important that our state offer as many outdoor opportunities as possible for people to enjoy, provided we can do so safely. I am especially appreciative of the hard work by our parks staff to get ready for the camping season - there are many steps needed this year to keep our staff and the public safe, and our team will be working hard leading up to the July 8 opening to ensure a positive and safe visitor experience.\u201d DEEP said it is actively working to prepare campgrounds to offer safe recreation in compliance with health guidance. This includes hiring and training staff to clean bathrooms and other facilities to standards required by health officials, procuring the required protective gear, and making necessary changes to camp office buildings to ensure visitor and staff safety.