Overlooked in the blizzard of news following the passage of our state’s last-in-the-nation budget is this:
Starting January 1, Connecticut residents will no longer pay for admission to 24 state parks and 3 state forests.
It’s covered through a new Department of Motor Vehicles charge: $10, paid every 2 years.
If you’re like me, and fail to see a connection between the DMV and the Department of Environmental and Energy Protection, look at the bottom line: The new charge will raise $16 million of the $18 million needed for annual operation of the parks.
Fees collected will be kept separate from Connecticut’s general fund.
What does that mean for Westport?
For one thing, Sherwood Island — the often-overlooked 232-acre gem right inside our borders — might get a few more town visitors.
For another, I’m sure someone will suggest that the solution to our Compo Beach crowds is to shunt more out-of-towners to the state park.
Of course, free admission applies only to Connecticut residents. Whether at Sherwood Island or Compo, New Yorkers still have to pay.