Funding to help enhance your local state park is on its way.

Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the anticipated release of $34 million in state funds to improve and increase Connecticut residents’ access to outdoor spaces.

Most of the funds will be used to address support repairs, maintenance and new construction at several state parks. Additional funds will be used to provide open space grants for conservation and recreation purposes and to support the improvement and expansion of recreational trails, bikeways, greenways and pedestrian walkways.

“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,” Gov. Lamont said. “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.”

In addition to the state funds, DEEP is expected to receive $21.5 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Those funds will be put towards improving accessibility 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, according to the press release.

“Connecticut’s state parks are the gems of our state,” Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (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.”

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Tom Hopkins wrote for CII from April 2022 to February 2023. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist.

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