Richard du Toit
Connecticut residents can expect higher fees to get into state parks and museums next month.
Your staycation plans could cost you a little more next month. On October 1, 2009, the state is raising fees across the board. Fees under $150, including those at state parks and museums, will double in cost.
So when Breen takes his family camping at Hammonasset he'll have to shell out $30 instead of the usual $15. At that cost, he says he might as well go to a private campsite. His friends agree.
"It's cheaper, or more effective to go to another campground where they give you water, sewer, power, things like that to make your stay a little more comfortable," said Kevin Evon of Wolcott.
The state, which added the fee increase to this year's budget, is hoping it will bring in $144 million over two years. But some say with staycations on the rise, increasing the state fees will only hurt families trying for an economical vacation.
"Just the way they went about this whole thing really bothers me. The State of Connecticut doesn't announce these fees are going to go up. They say they're not going to increase our taxes, but basically they do and who are they hurting? They're hurting the people who can least afford it," said Breen.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says campers can lock in this year's price by going online to www.reserveamerica.com and making reservations before October 1, 2009.
Reservations are accepted from 11 months to one day prior to the camping stay. There is a two night minimum stay to reserve a site.