Gov. Malloy opens state parks season

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MILFORD -

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday reminded the public of more than 100 state parks that will be open for the Memorial Day weekend.

Three parks remain closed due to damage from last week's powerful storm.

Malloy stopped by Silver Sands State Park to officially kick off the parks season. It will be open for the holiday weekend.

Construction is underway on a $9 million expansion to Silver Sands. It includes adding public bathrooms, changing areas, a lifeguard building and additional parking.

This is the first season for the state's recently launched Passport to Parks program, which will allow all cars registered in Connecticut to park for free at state parks. The program is supported through a $10 fee that's included with vehicle registration.

People who don't live in Connecticut will still have to pay a fee to visit state parks.

State officials say the new structure allows the Connecticut state parks system greater and more predictable financial support and will allow increased staffing of state beaches during the summer season, among other things.

"Overall it's a great way to make sure we have sufficient funds available to run the parks," Malloy says. "As a result of this program, we are lengthening hours of operation in a number of our park programs."

Malloy estimates that more than 9 million people visit Connecticut state parks every year.

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