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Prevent Trash and Neglect at Your Parks and Forests

Garbage Dump Site at Peoples SF
Why is there a garbage dump site at Peoples State Forest?
 
Acquired acre-by-acre in the 1920’s by the people of Connecticut (hence the name “Peoples State Forest”), this revered forest is intended to be a model for protecting drinking water quality and for showcasing good forest management.
 
In many ways, Peoples State Forest remains an amazing resource, but what will happen to forests like Peoples SF in your community if they are not properly maintained?
 
You know how valuable your State Parks and Forests are. Over $1 billion in revenues for state coffers and over 9,000 private sector jobs are sustained by them every year. But you also know that your State Parks and Forests are valuable to you as places for recreation and to get away from it all.
 
But the funding trend for your State Parks and Forests in the state budget has been terrible, and if it continues, these treasured places will begin to either be closed, or be moved to “passive management” (also known as “active mis-management”) which results in more dump sites and vandalism on your public lands.
 
In addition to more garbage problems, the threat of additional closures or cutbacks in services at State Parks is very real if the budget continues to be cut, and ironically, these budget problems come as more people than ever are visiting places State Parks which host 8-9 million visitors each year.
 
The budget cuts that took place last July have continued and the result is that 4 campgrounds (out of 14 total) remain closed; essential seasonal workers like lifeguards and hours at park facilities are reduced; campgrounds are closing for the season on Labor Day rather than Columbus Day in most places; and it’s not hard to see that many of our State Parks and Forests are receiving less maintenance and are beginning to deteriorate.  
 
You can wring your hands about this in despair, or as a good friend said recently, “Suck it up, buttercup, and do something about it!”
 
The most sustainable solution, we believe, is the “Passport to the Parks.” The Passport to the Parks has two key parts:  1) a $10 DMV registration charge (paid every other year) dedicated to keep State Parks and campgrounds operating, which would generate enough revenues to 2) allow Connecticut residents to gain free entry to all State Parks. This would be quite a value considering that the current parking fee for a CT resident to attend a shoreline park like Hammonasset Beach State Park is $13/visit, and an annual pass is $67/year.
 
The Passport to the Parks is reasonable, and must be implemented as part of the 2018-19 Connecticut Budget. If you haven’t yet contacted your State Legislators to ask them to “Pass the Passport to the Parks Please,” we ask you to take a few minutes now to do so. If you have made contact with your State Legislators and they haven’t yet responded to let you know of their support for the Passport, please try again.
 
** Every year, as CFPA advocates for your State Parks and Forests at the Capitol, we provide updates like this and ways for you to weigh-in to make a difference. Your involvement has never been more critical to protect those places that are special to you. Thank you for your support!