DEP Announces Connecticut State Park Passes Again Available at Public Libraries
Cooperative Venture with Libraries is a popular element of “No Child Left Inside”
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that state park day passes are again available at public libraries across the state as part of the agency’s “No Child Left Inside” initiative.
During an announcement ceremony at the Windsor Public Library, DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, “One of our top priorities at DEP is reconnecting Connecticut residents with the outdoors. What better way to accomplish that goal than by encouraging families to take advantage of our wonderful state parks and forests-free of charge? This is very much in keeping with Governor Rell’s ‘Staycation’ program to encourage everyone to enjoy all that our own state has to offer.”
“We have placed our park passes in the main branch of all public libraries for the past two summers,” Commissioner McCarthy said. “The passes have proven very popular – so we are bringing them back to the libraries again. We hope everyone ‘checks them out’ and uses the passes to enjoy Connecticut’s natural resources by picnicking, hiking, swimming, or boating in our parks and forests. We appreciate the cooperation of the CT Library Consortium and local library officials in making this effort successful.”
State Park Passes at Libraries
Under the DEP’s State Park Day Pass Library Program, the main library branch in each of Connecticut’s cities and towns receives a Connecticut State Park & Forest day pass. The pass can be checked out by any patron who has a library card. Library patrons may borrow the pass, free of charge for one to two days and present it at any state park or forest for free admission. The pass may be used at all the major state parks with parking fees, including Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, Sherwood Island State Park in Westport or Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme. The pass also provides free entrance to any museum located at a state park such as Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, Fort Trumbull State Park in New London and Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam.
Those checking out the pass to visit a state park or forest will also be able to borrow a copy of Joseph Leary’s A Shared Landscape: A Guide & History of Connecticut’s State Parks & Forests. The DEP has provided a copy of the book for every library. The book makes it easy for families to plan their trips to a state park or forest by providing details and colorful photographs on the activities and services offered at each location. The names alone of the parks and forests listed in Leary’s book – Devil’s Hopyard State Park or Lover’s Leap State Park, for example – may inspire families to use their pass to visit a state park they have never been to before.
Families interested in borrowing the park pass from their local library are advised to arrive at the library early due to the program’s popularity.
“No Child Left Inside”
Introduced in 2006 by Governor M. Jodi Rell and coordinated by the DEP, “No Child Left Inside,” a major state initiative, is designed to reconnect families with the outdoors, build the next generation of environmental stewards and showcase Connecticut’s parks and forests. Study after study shows that spending time outdoors is critical to the healthy growth and development of today’s youngsters. “No Child Left Inside” provides the incentive for children to turn off their computers and get outside through interactive programs like The Great Park Pursuit, The Connecticut State Parks Family Adventure.
“No Child Left Inside” programs encourage young people to develop an appreciation for Connecticut’s forests, waterways, beaches and wildlife as they spend time exploring Connecticut’s beautiful network of 138 state parks and forests that offer safe, convenient and fun places to spend time with their families.
In addition to the day passes, DEP’s “No Child Left Inside” initiative is partnering with public libraries to encourage summer reading and to interest young people in the outdoors.
Please visit www.nochildleftinside.org to learn more about “No Child Left Inside.”
Connecticut’s State Parks and Forests
DEP operates 106 state parks and oversees 32 state forests. The state park system dates back to the early years of the 20th century.
The lands include:
- 21 swimming areas and beaches
- Nine historic sites of significance
- More than 800 miles of hiking trails
- 230 lakes and ponds
- 2,000 miles of rivers and streams
- 1,300 campsites at 14 state parks for both tent and RV camping
- More than 100 public boat launch areas
Connecticut State Park and Forest season passes are offered to in-state residents for $50. The pass covers the cost of admission and parking at major state parks where fees are charged. Information on purchasing season passes is available at www.ct.gov/dep and passes can purchased online.