$34 Million in Anticipated State Funding To Support Outdoor Recreation Announced

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday the anticipated release of $34 million in state funding that will continue his administration’s priority of improving and increasing access to the outdoors for Connecticut residents in a number of ways.

Among the items that are expected to be approved at this Friday’s meeting of the State Bond Commission include:

  • $15 million to support repairs, maintenance, and new construction at various Connecticut State Parks statewide. (This funding is part of $51.5 million in the adopted state budget to address the backlog of state park infrastructure improvements needed across the system, augmented by $21.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds.)
  • $10 million to provide open space grants for conservation and recreation purposes.
  • $9 million to support improvement and expansion of recreational trails, bikeways, greenways, pedestrian walkways, and more.

“As we reach the peak of our summer season, residents and visitors across Connecticut continue to seek out a respite in their state parks, which provide an incredible resource for those of us who live here,” Governor Lamont said in a release. “We are making critical investments to ensure that these resources are maintained, and that visitors have the continued ability to access them, including through the Passport to the Parks program and ParkConneCT. We’ve also successfully staffed our waterfront and shoreline parks with lifeguards through an increase in wages that reflects the important service lifeguards provide. These are the kinds of investments that contribute to the incredible quality of life we enjoy in our great state.”

“Connecticut’s state parks are the gems of our state,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “They are well loved by the public and became an important outlet for residents during the pandemic. As people continue to discover our parks, it’s critical that we invest in these spaces so that they can continue to be loved for generations to come. We’re grateful to Governor Lamont for his support in securing much-needed funding to maintain, repair, and improve our parks infrastructure. DEEP takes our role as stewards of 255,000 acres of state parks and forests very seriously, and we are thrilled that we will be able to continue to be stewards with this new funding.”

Connecticut has a significant amount of repair and refurbishment needed for its state parks, and with this investment that the Lamont administration is making DEEP will have an increased opportunity to make these upgrades.

This is an opportunity catch up on some of that backlog in noticeable ways, such as the Heublein Tower, and not as noticeable ways like repairs to infrastructure that support maintenance activities and position Connecticut to take the greatest advantage of its resources.

In addition to this state funding, DEEP is also set to receive American Rescue Plan Act funds totaling $21.5 million, which will be used to achieve many objectives, including providing improved accessibility, improvements, and repairs to park amenities; increasing outdoor recreation and education; reducing DEEP’s infrastructure footprint; and improving water supply and sewage disposal associated with outdoor recreation facilities.

The improved outdoor recreation amenities will provide healthy socialization and recreation opportunities for disproportionately impacted communities.

For more information on Connecticut State Parks, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Listing-of-State-Parks.

For more information on ParkConneCT, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Park-Connect.

For more information on the Passport to the Parks program, visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Passport-to-the-Parks.

Whether you are looking for a rigorous outdoor activity, a leisurely stroll or a peek into history, Connecticut’s parks and forests have something to offer you year round.  With 139 state parks and forests statewide, you’re sure to find one close to home or just a short trip away.
Above All State Park, Warren/Litchfield
Air Line State Park Trail, Multi-TownAlgonquin State Forest, ColebrookAmerican Legion State Forest, Barkhamsted
Beaver Brook State Park, Windham/Chaplin
Becket Hill State Park, Old Lyme
Beckley Furnace State Park, North Canaan
Bennett’s Ponds State Park, Ridgefield
Bigelow Hollow State Park, Union
Black Rock State Park, Watertown
Bluff Point State Park, Groton
Bolton Notch State Park, Bolton
Brainard Homestead State Park, East Haddam
Burr Pond State Park, Torrington
C.P. Huntington State Park, Redding/Bethel/Newtown
Camp Columbia State Park, Morris
Camp Columbia State Forest, Morris
Campbell Falls State Park, Norfolk
Centennial State Forest, Fairfield
Chatfield Hollow State Park, Killingworth
Cockaponset State Forest, Haddam/ChesterConnecticut Valley Railroad State Park, EssexDart Island State Park, Middletown
Day Pond State Park, Colchester
Dennis Hill State Park, Norfolk
Devil’s Hopyard State Park, East Haddam
Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill
Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam
Enders State Forest, Granby/Barkhamsted
Farm River State Park, East Haven
Farmington Canal Greenway State Park, Cheshire/Hamden
Fort Griswold State Park, Groton
Fort Trumbull State Park, New London
Gardner Lake State Park, Salem
Gay City State Park, Hebron
George Dudley Seymour State Park, Haddam
George Waldo State Park, Southbury
Gillette Castle State Park, East Haddam
Green Falls State Campground, Voluntown
Haddam Island State Park, Haddam
Haddam Meadows State Park, Haddam
Haley Farm State Park, Groton
Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford
Haystack Mountain State Park, Norfolk
Higganum Reservoir State Park, Higganum
Hop River State Park, Multi-Town
Hopemead State Park, Montville/Bozrah
Hopeville Pond State Park, Griswold
Horse Guard State Park, Avon
Housatonic  Meadows State Park, Sharon
Housatonic Meadows State Forest, Sharon
Humaston Brook State Park, Litchfield
Hurd State Park, East Hampton
Indian Well State Park, Shelton
J.A. Minetto State Park, Torrington
James L Goodwin State Forests Forest, Hampton
Kent Falls State Park, Kent
Kettletown State Park, Southbury
Killingly Pond State Park, Killingly
Lake Waramaug State Park, Kent
Lamentation Mountain State Park, Berlin
Larkin State Park Trail, Southbury/Naugatuck/Oxford/Middlebury
Lovers Leap State Park, New Milford
Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent
Machimoodus State Park, East Haddam
Mansfield Hollow State Park, Mansfield
Mashamoquet State Park, Pomfret
Massacoe State Forest, Simsbury/Canton
Mattatuck State Forest, Multi-Town
Meshomasic State Forest, East Hampton/Glastonbury/Portland

Mianus River State Park, Stamford
Millers Pond State Park, Haddam
Minnie Island State Park, Bozrah, Montville
Mohawk State Forest/ Mohawk Mountain State Park, Goshen/Cornwall
Mohegan State Forest, Scotland
Mono Pond State Park, Columbia
Mooween State Park, Lebanon
Mount Bushnell State Park, Washington
Mount Riga State Park, Salisbury
Mount Tom State Park, Litchfield
Nassahegon State Forest, Burlington
Natchaug State Forest, Eastford
Nathan Hale State Forest, Coventry/Andover
Naugatuck State Forest, Naugatuck/Oxford/Beacon Falls
Nehantic State Forest, Lyme
Nepaug State Forest, New Hartford
Nipmuck State Forest, Union
Nye-Holman State Forest, Tolland
Old Furnace State Park, Killingly
Osbornedale State Park, Derby
Pachaug State Forest, Voluntown
Pattaconk Lake Recreation Area, Chester/Haddam
Paugnut State Forest, Torrington/Winchester
Paugussett State Forest, Newtown
Penwood State Park, Bloomfield
Peoples State Forest, Barkhamsted
Platt Hill State Park, Winchester
Pomeroy State Park, Lebanon
Pootatuck State Forest, New Fairfield
Putnam Memorial State Park, Redding
Quaddick State Park, Thompson
Quaddick State Forest, Thompson
Quinebaug Lake State Park, Killingly
Quinnipiac River State Park, North Haven
River Highlands State Park, Cromwell
Rocky Glen State Park, Newtown
Rocky Neck State Park, East Lyme
Ross Pond State Park, Killingly
S.L. Pierrepont State Park, Ridgefield
Salmon River Sate Forest, Colchester
Salt Rock State Campground, Sprague
Satan’s Kingdom State Park, New Hartford
Scantic River State Park, Enfield/East Windsor/Somers Seaside State Park, Waterford
Selden Neck State Park, Lyme
Shenipsit State Forest, Stafford/Somers/Ellington
Sherwood Island State Park, Westport
Silver Sands State Park, Milford
Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden
Southford Falls State Park, Southbury
Squantz Pond State Park, New Fairfield
Stillwater Pond State Park, Torrington
Stoddard Hill State Park, Ledyard
Stratton Brook State Park, Simsbury
Sunnybrook State Park, Torrington
Sunrise State Park, East Haddam
Talcott Mountain State Park, Simsbury
Topsmead State Forest, Litchfield
Tri-Mountain State Park, Durham/Wallingford
Trout Brook Valley State Park, Easton
Tunxis State Forest, Granby/Barkhamsted/Hartland
Wadsworth Falls State Park, Middlefield/Middletown
West Rock Ridge State Park, Hamden/New Haven
Wharton Brook State Park, Wallingford
Whittemore Glen State Park, Naugatuck/Middlebury
Windsor Locks Canal State Park, Windsor Locks
Windsor Meadows State Park, Windsor
Wooster Mountain State Park, Danbury
Wyantenock State Forest, Cornwall