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Lawmakers search for creative ways to generate revenue at state parks

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HAMDEN--State lawmakers are taking a hard look at how to ensure Connecticut's state parks can continue to operate.

"Our parks service is in a crisis," said state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr.

The problem is funding, and it comes less than two years after the state celebrated 100 years of Connecticut state parks.

The $18 million budget for the state parks hasn't been enough to cover basic maintenance costs, and now those funds may be cut due to budget issues. In fact, last year the governor tried to cut $2 million from the parks budget, but the Legislature didn't approve the move.

Currently, only 40 percent of the funds used to keep the parks up comes from revenue generated by parking and gate fees.

Some ideas to generate more funds include a parking pass to beat the crowds and naming rights for parks and concession stands.

"Some people who have proposed premium parking -- people paying more for a guaranteed spot--that might not be on the top of my suggestions, but again, I believe that everything needs to be on the table. Every idea," Kennedy said.