HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Robert Klee on Thursday kicked off the beginning on the state parks season in Connecticut. As a result of the recently launched Passport to Parks program, this is the first summertime season that vehicles registered in Connecticut will be provided free entry into all of Connecticut’s state parks.
“Connecticut’s state parks are an economic driver for our state, with over 9 million people visiting annually, who through their visits support local shops, restaurants, and even the occasional brewery or vineyard,” Governor Malloy said. “I encourage all Connecticut residents to spend time this summer enjoying the verdant beauty of our state.”
Connecticut has 110 state parks located throughout the state, which includes campgrounds within 32 state forests. The state park system offers opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking, among many other activities. A directory of every state park in Connecticut can be found online by visiting www.ct.gov/deep/stateparks.
“Some of favorite memories as a child was time spent exploring state parks with my parents, and now with children of my own I get to see the wonder in their eyes as they experience nature,” Commissioner Klee said. “In the rush of our busy modern lives, where we are constantly connected to all forms of electronic devices, visiting a state park, taking hike, casting a line or simply sitting under the sun can do wonders for our physical and mental health. We want our park goers to have a positive visitor experience each time they visit our parks, and the Passport to Parks program helps to ensure that our parks are protected in the years ahead.”
The Passport to Parks program was adopted late last year and is supported through a $10 fee that is now included with all non-commercial vehicle registrations through the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. The new structure allows the Connecticut State Parks system – a division of DEEP – with greater and more predictable financial support, while allowing a number of previously reduced services to be restored, such as the reopening of several previously closed campgrounds, increased staffing of state beaches during the summer season, and the restoration of regular hours of operation at certain nature centers and museums. Fees to reserve overnight campgrounds for both in-state residents and out-of-state visitors will still apply.
Implementation of the Passport to Parks program allowed a number of services throughout the state parks system to be restored, including:
The reopening of four previously closed campgrounds:
Devil’s Hopyard in East Haddam (open April 14 through Labor Day)
Green Falls in Voluntown (open April 14 through Labor Day)
Macedonia Brook in Kent (April 14 through Labor Day)
Salt Rock in Sprague (open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day)
The restoration of springtime camping at:
American Legion and Peoples State Forests in Barkhamsted) (open April 14 through Labor Day)
Mount Misery in Voluntown (open April 14 through Labor Day)
The restoration of autumn camping at:
Hammonasset Beach in Madison (open Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day)
Rocky Neck in East Lyme (open Memorial Day Weekend through the end of September)
Housatonic Meadows in Sharon (open Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day)
Hopeville Pond in Griswold (open Memorial Day Weekend through the end of September)
Increased lifeguard staffing at state park beaches for the summer season, starting on Memorial Day weekend. At the beginning of the season, lifeguards will be on duty on weekends and then will expand to five or seven days per week by the end of June. This includes Hammonasset Beach, Rocky Neck, Sherwood Island, Silver Sands, Black Rock, Burr Pond, and Squantz Pond State Parks. (Staffing is contingent upon adequate levels of lifeguards being available each season and adjustments may be made in the fall when many lifeguards typically begin school.)
Restoration of regular hours of operation at the state’s museums and nature center hours between Memorial Day to Labor Day, including at Dinosaur, Gillette Castle, Meigs Point Nature Center, and Fort Trumbull.
DEEP Continues to Accept Applications for Seasonal Lifeguard Jobs
Lifeguard positions remain available at the many of the state park beaches this summer season. Those interested should submit a job application online at www.ct.gov/deep/seasonaljobs.
Campground Reservations Can Be Made Now
Campground reservations for all state campgrounds can be made online or by calling 1-877-668-CAMP (2267).