EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — The state could implement a cap on capacity at state parks in response to a jump in visitors at Connecticut State Parks.
There were 17 million visits to the parks last year — six million more than in 2019.
“You know the environment can only handle so much, and then it gets overwhelmed and destroyed if it continues,” said Janice Kraus, of Old Lyme.
That traffic bump is leading state lawmakers to consider plans to help manage the growth.
Connecticut residents can park at state parks for free through the Connecticut Passport Program, which adds a $5 fee to a vehicle’s registration.
Proposals include increasing the number of conservation officers in an effort to decrease vandalism, or doing away with the Passport Program and requiring residents to pay. Under one plan, the Passport Program would be free for seniors and military veterans.
“DEEP looks forward to reviewing these bills and submitting testimony that addresses the questions and concerns raised by the legislature,” a statement from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reads. “DEEP is committed to ensuring that these parks and forests are safe and welcoming to all residents and visitors.”