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Parking fees for non-residents set to resume at certain state parks

Cloe Poisson
CT Mirror

If you’re a Connecticut resident, breathe easy. As long as you drive to a state park or forest in a vehicle registered in the state, you don’t need to pay a parking fee.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said starting April 1, out-of-state visitors to about two dozen parks and forests will have to resume paying for parking.

Fees will be collected remotely through a system that takes payments from smartphones and credit cards. The DEEP says in-person fee collection at some state parks will also begin Memorial Day weekend.

According to the DEEP, millions of people visit state parks annually.

The state largely suspended non-resident parking fees in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated staffing limitations. Non-resident fees resumed last year as the state expanded its remote parking fee collection system that was piloted in 2020. DEEP does not collect parking fees during the winter months.

“DEEP will continue to educate out-of-state visitors about the operation of this system, and failure to pay the required fee can result in the issuance of a $75 infraction fine,” the agency said in a statement. “Visitors with out-of-state vehicles that are frequent visitors might also consider purchasing a parking season pass, which permits unlimited parking at any state park for the entire season. The cost of the season pass is $112.”

Free parking for Connecticut residents is funded by an annual $5 charge on state motor vehicle registrations.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached at pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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