MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Ned Lamont took a walk at Hammonasset Beach State Park, where he held his summer kick-off event Friday to promote Connecticut’s parks.

Connecticut is home to 110 state parks and 32 state forests. Fourteen of them have campgrounds.

“We have a park within 15 minutes drive of every Connecticut resident,” said Katie Dykes, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).

There is no shortage of lifeguards, unlike last year. Some other seasonal positions still need to be filled.

“Our outdoor recreation economy grew 20% from 2021, and that’s generating about $4 billion in value and added more than 44,000 jobs across the state,” Dykes said.

The state says an independent study found tourism drives $17 billion in annual sales for tourism-related businesses like the Clam Castle featuring Taco Pacifico, which sits just up Route 1 from the entrance to Hammonasset.

“Just yesterday, I started getting calls from people that were like camping around here,” said Mario Silva, the manager and chef of the Clam Castle featuring Taco Pacifico in Madison. “They’re very excited to be in the area again.”

If you have a Connecticut license plate, that is your Passport to the Parks. The program allows you to park at any Connecticut state park or forest for free.

The Park Connect system coordinates public transportation for those who can’t or don’t want to drive.

“We have buses, trains, even trollies that will bring people to the front door of the state parks,” said Lisa Rivers, the transit administrator for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Don’t worry if the park is closed because the parking lot is full.

“You can still get in the park because we’ll bring you right in,” Rivers said.