Free Sherwood Island!

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.

Shewood Island State Park: 232 acres of prime real estate, right here in Westport.

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.

6 responses to “Free Sherwood Island!

  1. Dick Lowenstein

    Connecticut residents 65 and older have had the free Charter Oak Pass for many years. Here’s a summary:
    FREE CT. Charter Oak Park Pass- 4-2016
    The Charter Oak Pass provides access to the State Parks and Forests and is available free to Connecticut residents, 65 years of age or older.
    The pass is accepted at all day use areas where a parking fee applies. Presenting it allows free access for the entering vehicle and passengers. The pass holder does not have to be the vehicle driver.


    Under the new budget, pass holders will now have to pay $5 a year if they have Connecticut-registered car.

  2. It’s much easier to get an Uber from the Westport train station and get dropped off right at Compo than to get dropped off somewhere near Sherwood Island and hike in.

  3. Chip Stephens SHS '73

    See how long that lasts, segregated funds always seem to be lost in the general budget. Phone 911 fund, Highway repair fund and worst of all Social Security on the federal level.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more! I sat on a DEEP committee that oversaw the revenue from waterfowl hunting stamps. It was supposed to be a dedicated fund for marsh/wetland restoration. The General Assembly swept the whole fund into the general fund! This is nothing more than a new tax. If this program generates $16 million of the $18 million budget I can guarantee at some point the the DEEP budget will get slashed $16 million dollars and they will be right back where they started (with everyone paying $10 more for their car registration).

  4. Sharon Paulsen

    Thanks for this info, Dan!