Free passes available for disabled veterans to go to state parks

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced that lifetime state park passes are available free of charge to state residents who are military veterans with a service connected disability. The passes are available at DEEP Headquarters in Hartford and at various DEEP Park and field offices.

To obtain a pass, veterans need to show a photocopy of their current Connecticut drivers license, or other legal proof of residency, and a copy of their Veterans Administration (VA) card or VA benefits letter indicating the service connected disability.

"These free, lifetime passes are an excellent way for us to show our appreciation to Connecticut's residents and their families who have served our country," said Susan Frechette, deputy commissioner at the DEEP.

The passes can be used to waive parking fees at all of Connecticut's state parks where a fee is charged. The card is issued to an individual veteran and can only be used if it is presented by the pass holder. It is non-transferable to another person.

To enter an area with a parking fee, the holder of the pass must present the pass to the gate attendant. Access will be given for the vehicle and all passengers. The pass holder does not have to be the driver of the vehicle. The Disabled Veteran Pass is not valid for camping or special events having separate admission charges and may not be used for commercial purpose.

When visiting Gillette Castle, Dinosaur and Fort Trumbull State Parks or to fish at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery, free admittance is provided only for the Disabled Veteran Pass holder. All other visitors will be required to pay the appropriate fee.

Disabled Veterans Passes can picked at area parks, including Kellogg Environmental Center, communications and education office at 500 Hawthorne Avenue, Derby, and Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.