Governor Ned Lamont today announced the launch of CTParks.com, the new official website for Connecticut State Parks. The website offers visitors with an innovative online platform showcasing Connecticut State Parks in a more exciting, user-friendly way to help them engage with, learn about, and access state parks and the areas around them.
Connecticut has enjoyed a remarkable surge in outdoor recreation in recent years, initially spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing in line with a nationwide shift toward healthier lifestyles, increased environmental awareness, and a desire for outdoor experiences. From hiking and camping to biking and fishing, Americans increasingly are investing their time and money in outdoor activities and creating substantial economic benefits. This new CTParks.com website was funded through an American Rescue Plan Act grant via the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
“Connecticut State Parks are a huge part of our state’s quality of life and a big reason why people are choosing to move to Connecticut, and we want to make sure people have all of the information they need to visit them,” Governor Lamont said. “These beautiful places, which offer residents and visitors an unparalleled recreation experience and provide significant economic benefits to our cities and towns, deserve a website befitting their value. CTParks.com is the latest way we’re helping to connect residents with their Connecticut State Parks.”
Connecticut is home to a magnificent array of state parks, cherished for their natural beauty and diverse recreational offerings. With 142 state parks and forests, and a network of more than 2,500 miles of scenic trails, these stunning natural landscapes offer something for everyone. Connecticut State Parks continue to rank among the top regional tourist destinations and play a significant role in the state’s tourism sector and local economy. Last year, the state welcomed a staggering 17 million visitors to Connecticut State Parks. People outside of Connecticut are taking notice too – earlier this year, a travel blog designated Connecticut the best state in the country for hiking.
The Connecticut State Parks system is administered and maintained by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
“Connecticut residents have been discovering and re-discovering their state parks over the last several years, unlocking the physical and mental health benefits outdoor recreation provides,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Restoring and providing access to our state parks has been a priority of the Lamont administration, and we’re proud to continue to showcase our state’s tremendous natural resources. We hope you’ll enjoy using this new website to learn about the different state parks, find a hiking trail, and even find out about other great things to do in the area. The new ‘While You Are Here’ sections can point you to a great restaurant, shop, or attraction after spending a few hours in the outdoors.”
DEEP worked closely with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to develop the website, recognizing the value of Connecticut State Parks as an important tourism asset.
“Our state parks are an amazing asset that greatly contribute to Connecticut’s unmatched quality of life,” DECD Commissioner Alexandra Daum said. “They also attract millions of visitors whose spending helps drive economic development in our towns and cities. This website is an important new tool to educate out-of-state tourists and residents alike on what our amazing parks have to offer. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s work on state parks is invaluable and I’m glad we could partner with them on this project to show people across the world more of what makes our state a great place to visit and call home.”
CTParks.com offers several exciting features and advancements to enhance visitor experiences and spotlight the splendor and diversity of our state parks system. Among the highlights of this dynamic website are:
- ParkFinder Tool: Equipped with a user-friendly ParkFinder Tool, visitors can effortlessly discover the perfect state park based on their interests or location. Geo-location technology is seamlessly integrated, enabling users to identify nearby parks based on their current location and filter their search to parks based on their plans for the day or what they are looking to do.
- Dynamic Park Listings: Each state park enjoys a dedicated dynamic listing page that extensively promotes available activities, events, photography, social media content, and more. These listings provide comprehensive insights into the unique offerings of each park.
- “While You’re Here” Functionality: Visitors are offered an array of options to extend their stay by exploring nearby restaurants, shops, hotels, and attractions. This feature seamlessly integrates information from CTVisit.com, the state’s official tourism website, providing a comprehensive and constantly updated guide for a trip beyond the park.
- Event Awareness: The new website features an advanced event management system that not only highlights ongoing activities within the parks but also showcases upcoming events, further encouraging visitation and park engagement.
- User-Generated Content: The website harnesses Instagram content, shared by actual visitors to Connecticut State Parks. This user-generated content authentically represents our parks and the unique experiences they offer.
- Content Organization: The website is thoughtfully structured around core activities and interests, illuminating facets of state parks of which visitors may not have been aware. This intuitive design provides streamlined access to parks that cater to specific activities, simplifying the process of finding the ideal park to match individual interests.
- Video-Rich Experience: Site visitors can enjoy a video-rich environment that showcases a curated selection of more than 20 state park feature videos. These immersive visuals provide a captivating introduction to the natural wonders and recreational opportunities found within Connecticut State Parks and offer a glimpse to visitors of what to expect before they get there.
- Multi-Language Support: In line with the state’s focus on inclusivity, the website offers multi-language support to ensure that Spanish-speaking visitors can enjoy a translated experience.
- ADA Compliance: Ensuring accessibility for all, the website is ADA compliant, featuring essential tools, readers, and navigational support to assist visitors with unique accessibility needs, ensuring that everyone can access information.
For more information and to explore the new Connecticut State Parks website, visit CTParks.com.