Defending State Parks

Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Defending State Parks

Amanda Raus, NBC Connecticut

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Last week, Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), co-chair of the Legislature's Environment Committee, said he'd heard talk of closing the state parks to save money, something he said would be "a grave mistake."

He was echoed on a rainy afternoon at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, the state's largest state park.

"It's a fantastic thing," Brian O'Sullivan said as he was enjoying lunch with a friend on the covered platform at Middle Beach. "People who don't have the advantage of living right on the coast or whatever can get to a place and enjoy the seaside."

In 1991, it took corporate donations to keep the beach open while Gov. Lowell Weicker shut most of the parks in a budget crunch.  Many people at the time said they didn't use the parks anyway.  Many others wanted them reopened. 

"It's a horrible idea," said Gary Robertson, who figures he pays enough in taxes to keep the parks open. "The state parks are here for the citizens to enjoy.  They should be able to get on the park when they want to."

Hammonasset charges state residents $13 per vehicle during the summer months.  There is no entrance fee in the winter.

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