As the economy continues to tumble and Americans struggle to pay their bills, some say more people will take advantage of free state parks over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.
Connecticut’s parks are boasting a number of improvements for the holiday weekend: spruced up facilities, improved safety procedures and new features. Hammonasset State Park in Madison is expected to host nearly 2 million visitors – making it one of the busiest parks in the state. If visitors choose Sherwood Island in Westport, they’ll be greeted by a new nature center. Beefed-up procedures for lifeguards will help to keep swimmers safe Squantz Pond in New Fairfield.
Dennis Schain, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, says "Given the fact that times are tough, more people are likely looking for low-cost convenient ways to have fun with their family, and we are certainly poised to have a big year."
State leaders say this could be a record year for overall visits to the 44 major state parks and dozen state forests - that is, if the weather holds up.