State Representative Joe Aresimowicz, who represents Berlin and Southington in the General Assembly, is encouraging seniors and veterans with disabilities to take advantage of free passes to state parks.
“Veterans with military disabilities have gone above and beyond, and this is a small way to thank those who have sacrificed so much defending our democracy,” said Aresimowicz, a member of the legislature’s Veterans Committee.
Aresimowicz said passes providing lifetime free admission to all state parks and forests (excluding camping) are available free of charge to Connecticut veterans with a service connected disability and residents 65 and older.
The passes can be used to waive parking fees at any state park. Access will be permitted for the vehicle and all passengers. The pass holder does not have to be the driver of the vehicle.
“Our state parks and beaches have so much to offer. This is a great way for seniors to get outside and enjoy Connecticut’s natural beauty—and do it for free,” said Aresimowicz.
Veterans and seniors may apply in person at certain Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) locations, including DEEP State Park Headquarters in Hartford or at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill.
Veterans may also apply by sending a photocopy of their current Connecticut driver’s license or other legal proof of residency, and Veterans Administration (VA) Card or VA benefits letter indicating the service connected disability to: DEEP Disabled Veteran Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.
Seniors may obtain a pass by sending a photocopy of their current Connecticut driver’s license or other legal proof of age and residency to DEEP Charter Oak Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127.
For more information about either pass, call DEEP at (860) 424-3200 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit www.ct.gov/dep. Aresimowicz said if anyone had more questions or needed help acquiring a pass to email him at Joe.Aresimowicz@cga.ct.gov or call him at (860) 371-6887.
Free admittance is also provided for pass holders when visiting Gillette Castle, Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Parks, or fishing at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery. All other visitors, however, will be required to pay the appropriate fee.
Joe Aresimowicz has represented the 30th Assembly District of Berlin and Southington since 2004, where he serves as Deputy Speaker of the Connecticut General Assembly.