Open Space Use Rules and Guidance


  1. Open Space Land shall be open to the general public from sunrise to sunset unless closed by Town officials for safety.
  2. Fishing is permitted on any Open Space Land under the rules and regulations established by the Connecticut Board of Fisheries and Game.
  3. Hunting, trapping, carrying or using firearms or bows and arrows, discharging fireworks or explosives is prohibited on any Open Space Land. Exceptions to the no-hunting rule may be authorized by the Board of Selectmen. Any such occurrence will be posted in advance.
  4. Swimming or wading is permitted only at Martin Park.
  5. Riding horses, bicycles, or mountain bikes is permitted on areas set aside and appropriate for their use. Only established trails may be used, and wet or worn trail conditions may cause closing of such trails without advance notice.
  6. Dogs are permitted on Open Space Land provided they are on a leash at all times.
  7. Overnight camping is permitted in areas designated for camp use by special permit obtained from Parks and Recreation. Sanitary facilities must be provided by campers in accordance with the regulations of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  8. Fires may be kindled in designated areas after obtaining a special permit from Parks and Recreation, which permit is subject to the regulations of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  9. No person shall deface, remove, destroy, or otherwise injure in any manner whatsoever any structure, rock, tree, flower, shrub, or any other plant life; nor disturb or molest any bird or animal.
  10. Littering is prohibited and is punishable by fine.
  11. Motorized vehicles may not be operated or parked on any Open Space Land, except in designated areas.
  12. Violation of any provision of the Open Space Use Ordinance is sufficient cause for eviction, and any such violation will result in the fines specified in Chapter 262 of the Town Code.


You are responsible for yourself, so be prepared. Be self-reliant and knowledgeable about the trail conditions and the local weather forecast. Please follow these tips for your own safety and for the safety of your fellow hikers.

  1. Have a safety plan for hiking, especially for longer hikes. Write down where you are hiking, how long you plan to be out, and how many are hiking with you. Leave a copy at home, as well as on your car, giving approximate time you are starting the hike.
  2. Always carry a map and/or trail guide with you. A compass or GPS tracker should be standard equipment. Pay attention to detail, and consult your map often as you hike.
  3. Carry a cell phone with you, but be mindful that you are responsible for yourself and there may be areas where there is no cell phone coverage. A flashlight and a whistle can be used to signal for help.
  4. Carry plenty of water, whether it is cool or hot, and a snack.
  5. If hiking with others, always stay together. If you start as a group, you should finish as a group. Pace your hike to the slowest person.
  6. Dress appropriately for the season and the weather, as well as for the trail. Bring sunscreen, a hat (warm hat and gloves in winter), and rain protection. Long pants are advisable, with socks pulled over the cuffs, to keep ticks out. Wear sensible footwear for the terrain.
  7. Turn back if the weather starts looking unreasonable or threatening. Unexpected conditions can greatly affect your hike; know your limitations.
  8. An injury, severe weather, or a wrong turn can be life threatening. Be prepared, carry the appropriate items, and use good sense.


Whether you’re playing in the yard or heading out for a hike, it’s important to take steps to avoid tick-borne diseases.

  • Bathe or shower soon after outdoor activity
  • Look for ticks and remove quickly and properly
  • Apply recommended repellents to skin and clothing
  • Spray tick habitat areas of greatest risk in your yard
  • Treat pets with veterinarian recommended products

The blacklegged or “deer tick” (Ixodes scapularis) is responsible for spreading Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis in Connecticut. This tick is most often found at yard edge, under protective invasive plants such as barberry, in stone walls, damp leaves, ground cover, and along untended trails. While most cases occur in warm weather months, ticks may be encountered year-round. Avoiding tick habitat, dressing appropriately, and following the BLAST steps will help keep your outdoor adventures tick free.

You’ll find additional BLAST tick-borne disease prevention information, symptoms, and links to important research on the Ridgefield Health Department website at: