CHAPTER 447

STATE PARKS AND FORESTS

Table of Contents

Secs. 23-1 to 23-3. Appointment and term of commission. Powers and duties; reports; director. Supervision of tree wardens.

Sec. 23-4. Regulations for preservation and protection. Penalties. Alcoholic beverages in state parks and forests.

Sec. 23-5. Public reservations; supervision.

Sec. 23-5a. Natural area preserves. Declaration of policy.

Sec. 23-5b. Definitions.

Sec. 23-5c. Natural area preserves system.

Sec. 23-5d. Approval of preserve.

Sec. 23-5e. Alienation.

Sec. 23-5f. Advisory committee.

Sec. 23-5g. Cooperation with federal agencies.

Sec. 23-5h. Acquisition of property.

Sec. 23-5i. Responsibility of other public authorities.

Sec. 23-6. Maintenance of state park and forest lands adjoining other states.

Sec. 23-7. Memorials in state parks and reservations.

Sec. 23-8. Open spaces for recreation. State goal for acquisition of open space. State-owned lands valuable for conservation purposes.

Sec. 23-8a. Conveyance of certain state land previously held as protected open space.

Sec. 23-8b. Purchase of certain water company land in Fairfield County. Requirements for preservation. Jurisdiction by certain officers and patrolmen.

Sec. 23-9. Acquisition of property by eminent domain.

Sec. 23-9a. Acquisition of easements for maintenance of dams.

Sec. 23-9b. West Rock Ridge conservation area and supplement. Notice requirements re land use changes or transfers.

Sec. 23-10. Development of recreational areas.

Sec. 23-10a. Designation of state hiking trails.

Sec. 23-10b. Outdoor recreation-related services.

Sec. 23-10c. Designation of trails for use by horseback riders.

Sec. 23-10d. Equine Advisory Council.

Sec. 23-10e. Equestrian use on multiuse trails on state park and forest lands. Nonequine use of trails. Temporary closing of multiuse trails.

Secs. 23-10f and 23-10g. Reserved

Sec. 23-10h. Heritage parks: Legislative policy.

Sec. 23-10i. Designation of heritage parks. Advisory boards. Public hearing. Municipal approval. Designation of additional sites.

Sec. 23-11. Licenses for use of portions of parks or forests.

Sec. 23-12. Transfer of control of open spaces.

Sec. 23-13. Animals for public parks.

Sec. 23-14. Rights-of-way in state parks and forests.

Sec. 23-14a. (Formerly Sec. 19a-192a). Payments to certified ambulance services for calls at state parks or forests.

Sec. 23-15. State park receipts deposited in General Fund.

Sec. 23-15a. Use of state parks. Reimbursement of municipalities.

Sec. 23-15b. Maintenance, repair and improvement account. Established. Subaccounts. Use of funds.

Sec. 23-16. Leases of camp sites.

Sec. 23-16a. Leasing of camping sites at shore parks. Pilot program.

Sec. 23-17. Trust funds.

Sec. 23-18. State Park Police.

Sec. 23-19. State Forester.

Sec. 23-20. Powers and duties of commissioner.

Sec. 23-21. Purchase and sale of land by commissioner.

Sec. 23-22. Acquisition of land by exchange.

Sec. 23-23. Purchase and sale of seeds and seedling stock.

Sec. 23-24. Establishment of boundaries.

Sec. 23-24a. Survey of boundaries of state parks and forest lands.

Sec. 23-25. Granting of leases for public purposes.

Sec. 23-26. Revenue from state parks and facilities. Motor vehicle parking passes. Lifetime passes for residents sixty-five years of age or older or disabled veterans.

Sec. 23-26a. “All-terrain vehicle” defined.

Sec. 23-26b. Certificate to operate all-terrain vehicles on state land.

Sec. 23-26c. Availability of state land for use by persons operating all-terrain vehicles.

Sec. 23-26d. Regulations re safety education courses for the operation of all-terrain vehicles.

Sec. 23-26e. Operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land by certain minors.

Sec. 23-26f. Regulations re operation of all-terrain vehicles.

Sec. 23-26g. Penalties.

Sec. 23-27. Federal grants.

Secs. 23-27a to 23-27k. Registration of private land for recreational purposes.


Secs. 23-1 to 23-3. Appointment and term of commission. Powers and duties; reports; director. Supervision of tree wardens. Sections 23-1 to 23-3, inclusive, are repealed.

(1949 Rev., S. 3428–3430; 1951, S. 1854d; September, 1957, P.A. 11, S. 13; February, 1965, P.A. 614, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 157; P.A. 73-616, S. 21.)

Sec. 23-4. Regulations for preservation and protection. Penalties. Alcoholic beverages in state parks and forests. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 for the maintenance of order, safety and sanitation upon the lands under the commissioner’s control and for the protection of trees and other property and the preservation of the natural beauty thereof and fix penalties not exceeding a fine of ninety dollars for violation of such regulations. The commissioner may prohibit the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on such lands provided, for any such lands where the consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages was not prohibited by the commissioner as of October 1, 1999, the commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to prohibit such activity. Such regulations shall be posted in conspicuous places upon such lands. Any person who violates any such regulation shall have committed an infraction and may pay the fine by mail or plead not guilty under the provisions of section 51-164n. The provisions of section 51-164m shall not apply to this section. Any person convicted of a violation of such regulations or who forfeits a bond taken upon any such complaint may be prohibited from entering any state park by the commissioner for not more than one year from the date of such conviction.

(1949 Rev., S. 3431; 1951, S. 1855d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 158; P.A. 74-245, S. 3; P.A. 76-381, S. 14; P.A. 82-255, S. 1; P.A. 83-285, S. 5; P.A. 01-150, S. 18; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 74-245 raised maximum fine from $20 to $50; P.A. 76-381 added provisions classifying violation as an infraction, allowing payment of fine by mail or pleading of not guilty and excluding provisions from applicability of Sec. 51-164m; P.A. 82-255 raised the fine to $99 and authorized the commissioner to prohibit persons convicted of a violation or forfeiting a bond from entering a state park for one year; P.A. 83-285 reduced the maximum fine for violations of regulations to $90; P.A. 01-150 authorized the commissioner to prohibit the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverage on lands under the commissioner’s control and to adopt regulations therefor, and made technical changes for purpose of gender neutrality; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-5. Public reservations; supervision. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall have charge and supervision of all lands acquired by the state, as public reservations, for the purposes of public recreation or the preservation of natural beauty or historic association, except such lands as may be placed by law in the charge and under the supervision of other commissions or officials.

(1949 Rev., S. 3432; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 159; P.A. 96-180, S. 82, 166; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-5a. Natural area preserves. Declaration of policy. Connecticut is a state of relatively small area, undergoing rapid industrialization and rapid diminution of areas remaining in their natural condition. It is, therefore, declared to be the public policy that carefully selected areas of land and water of outstanding scientific, educational, biological, geological, paleontological or scenic value be preserved. In implementation of this policy, there is established a Connecticut system of natural area preserves.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 1; P.A. 91-65, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 91-65 rephrased the policy declaration to include reference to “biological, geological, paleontological or scenic value”.

Sec. 23-5b. Definitions. As used in sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive:

(1) “Natural area” means an area of land or water, or land and water, containing, or potentially containing, plant or animal life or features of biological, scientific, educational, geological, paleontological, or scenic value worthy of preservation in their natural condition;

(2) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection;

(3) “Natural area preserve” means a natural area which has been approved by the commissioner and designated by the Governor. Such designation shall be effective only as to interests in land owned by the state or conveyed to the state in form approved by the commissioner within ninety days after such designation or land subject to a conservation restriction, as defined by section 47-42a, conveyed to the state by a private landowner; and

(4) “Protected resources” means the particular conditions, vegetation or natural features within a natural area preserve, including, but not limited to, any species of plant or wildlife, which require protection and preservation in order to continue and flourish.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 2; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 160; P.A. 91-65, S. 2; 91-358, S. 2; P.A. 97-54, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act defined “commissioner” rather than “commission” and changed references throughout to reflect transfer of duties from state park and forest commission to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 91-65 rephrased the definition of “natural area”, redefined “natural area preserve” to include land dedicated to the state by a private landowner, and added a new Subsec. (d) defining “dedicated land”; P.A. 91-358 amended Subsec. (c) to remove from definition of natural area preserve land dedicated to the state by private land owners and substituted land subject to a conservation restriction and deleted Subsec. (d); P.A. 97-54 added definition of “protected resources” and replaced alphabetic Subdiv. indicators with numeric indicators; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” in Subdiv. (2), effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-5c. Natural area preserves system. The commissioner shall establish a system of natural area preserves and shall have responsibility for selection, care, control, supervision and management of all natural area preserves within the system to the extent of the interest held by the state, and shall maintain such preserves in as natural and wild a state as is consistent with the preservation and enhancement of protected resources and educational, scientific, biological, geological, paleontological and scenic purposes. In establishing such system, the commissioner shall consider as a priority the acquisition of areas identified as essential habitats of endangered and threatened species pursuant to the program established under section 26-305. The commissioner, alone or in cooperation with individuals or other public bodies, including the federal government, may conduct inventories of areas within the state that may prove worthy of inclusion within a system of natural area preserves, and may gather and disseminate information concerning inventoried areas, or natural area preserves under his control. Information collected in such inventories shall become part of the natural diversity database of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The commissioner shall ensure the use of natural area preserves for research consistent with purposes of sections 23-5a to 23-53, inclusive, and 26-314. The commissioner may adopt regulations under the provisions of section 23-4 for managing the natural area preserves system including, but not limited to, procedures for the adoption and revision of a management plan for each designated natural area preserve. A management plan may permit recreational activities which do not adversely impact the protected resources of the natural area preserve. The commissioner may use funds available under section 23-79 for the development and implementation of such management plans.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 3; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 161; P.A. 89-224, S. 12, 22; P.A. 91-65, S. 3; P.A. 97-54, S. 2; P.A. 99-225, S. 13, 33; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act substituted references to environmental protection commissioner for references to state park and forest commission; P.A. 89-224 added the requirement to consider the acquisition of essential habitat of endangered and threatened species; P.A. 91-65 added provision concerning use of inventory information in natural diversity database and rephrased the language authorizing regulations under this section; P.A. 97-54 specified that maintenance of preserves is to be consistent with preservation and enhancement of protected resources and that management plans for preserves may permit recreational activities which do not adversely impact protected resources; P.A. 99-225 authorized use of funds from the recreation and natural heritage trust stewardship account for the development and implementation of management plans under this section, effective July 1, 1999; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Department of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-5d. Approval of preserve. (a) The commissioner may approve a natural area preserve only upon the recommendation of the Natural Area Preserves Advisory Committee and only after public hearing and upon notice. The notice required by this section shall set forth the substance of the proposed action and describe, with or without legal description, the area affected and shall set forth the time and place of the hearing, and shall be published at least once in the Connecticut Law Journal not less than fifteen days nor more than sixty days before such hearing. Such notice shall also be published twice in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality or municipalities in which the natural area is situated, at intervals of not less than ten days, the first not more than forty-five days nor less than thirty days, and the last not less than five days before such hearing.

(b) In addition to lands owned by the state or conveyed to the state within ninety days after designation, the commissioner may approve and the Governor may designate as a natural area preserve land subject to a conservation restriction, as defined in section 47-42a, where such conservation restriction has been conveyed to the state. Any conservation restriction agreed to by the owner and the commissioner shall contain rights and restrictions to protect the qualifying features of the land and shall include a statement of the public purposes served by the conveyance and a statement that the commissioner shall hold such interests in trust for the public as a natural area preserve as designated by the Governor under the terms and authority of sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive. Such conservation restriction shall be conveyed by deed to the commissioner who shall record such deed on the land records in the municipality in which such land is located.

(c) The owner of land designated a natural area preserve pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall notify the commissioner before sale or transfer by deed or lease of the land or other interests therein. The commissioner may not regulate or prohibit such sale or transfer. The executor of a will or the administrator of an estate shall notify the commissioner whenever such lands are transferred by will or as part of an estate.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 4; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 162; P.A. 91-65, S. 4; 91-358, S. 3.)

History: 1971 act replaced reference to state park and forest commission with reference to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 91-65 added requirement that natural area preserves advisory committee recommend approval of a preserve before the commissioner may approve such preserve and added new Subsecs. (b) and (c) concerning designation of private land as natural area preserve where such land is the subject of articles of dedication entered into by the landowner and the state; P.A. 91-358 amended Subsec. (b) by removing reference to dedicated land and substituting conservation restriction in lieu thereof and added provision requiring conservation restrictions to be conveyed by deed and filed in the local land records.

Sec. 23-5e. Alienation. (a) An area designated as a natural area preserve is declared to be put to its highest, best and most important use for public benefit and no interest therein owned by the state shall be alienated or put to any use other than as a natural area preserve, except upon a finding by the commissioner in consultation with the natural area preserves committee that (1) such alienation or other use serves a public necessity and that no prudent alternative exists or (2) the features of the land found worthy of preservation have been destroyed or irretrievably damaged so that the public purpose in preserving such land has been frustrated, and after the approval of such proposed alienation or other use by the Governor. Any alienation shall be subject to the payment of just compensation to the state for the use of the commissioner and to such other terms and conditions as the commissioner shall determine. Any finding which the commissioner is required to make under sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive, shall be made only after public hearing and upon notice. The notice required by this section shall set forth the substance of the proposed action and describe, with or without legal description, the area affected, and shall set forth the time and place of the hearing, and shall be published at least twice in the Connecticut Law Journal, at intervals of not less than fifteen days, the first not more than sixty days nor less than thirty days, and the last not less than five days before such hearing. Such notice shall also be published twice in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality or municipalities in which the area directly affected is situated, at intervals of not less than ten days, the first not more than forty-five days, nor less than thirty days, and the last not less than five days before such hearing. No finding which the commissioner is required to make under sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive, shall be effective until, after the approval by the Governor of the proposed action based on such finding, the finding has been published in the Connecticut Law Journal. No action shall be taken by the state pursuant to such finding prior to the expiration of sixty days after such finding becomes effective. During such sixty-day period, any such finding may be appealed by any resident of this state, in a suit brought against the commissioner in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford. In any such action, the court shall vacate such finding if it finds the commissioner acted arbitrarily or illegally with bad faith or with malice in making such finding. During the pendency of such appeal, the state shall take no action pursuant to the findings of the commissioner.

(b) If the Governor approves the alienation of any conservation restriction conveyed to the commissioner pursuant to subsection (b) of section 23-5d, such conservation restriction shall be extinguished and the commissioner shall record a release of the conservation restrictions on the land records in the municipality in which such land is located.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 5; 1971, P.A. 870, S. 119; 872, S. 163; P.A. 76-436, S. 462, 681; P.A. 78-280, S. 5, 127; P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; P.A. 91-65, S. 5; 91-358, S. 4; P.A. 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; P.A. 95-220, S. 4–6.)

History: 1971 acts replaced superior court with court of common pleas, effective September 1, 1971, except that courts with cases pending retain jurisdiction unless pending matters deemed transferable, and replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 76-436 replaced court of common pleas with superior court, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 78-280 substituted “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” for “Hartford county”; P.A. 88-230 replaced “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” with “judicial district of Hartford”, effective September 1, 1991; P.A. 90-98 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1991, to September 1, 1993; P.A. 91-65 added language qualifying the findings required of the commissioner for alienation of a preserve; P.A. 91-358 designated existing language as Subsec. (a) and restated provision requiring the commissioner to consult with the natural area preserves committee in making a finding under section and allow as a reason for transfer or release a finding that the qualifying features of the land have been destroyed or irretrievably damaged and that the land’s purpose as a preserve has been undone and requiring that the land’s transfer or other use serve a public necessity rather than an imperative and unavailable public necessity and added Subsec. (b) re termination of restriction; P.A. 93-142 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1993, to September 1, 1996, effective June 14, 1993; P.A. 95-220 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1996, to September 1, 1998, effective July 1, 1995.

Sec. 23-5f. Advisory committee. Section 23-5f is repealed.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 6; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 164; P.A. 77-614, S. 609, 610.)

Sec. 23-5g. Cooperation with federal agencies. The commissioner is authorized to cooperate with any federal governmental agency in carrying out any provisions of sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 7; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 165.)

History: 1971 act replaced reference to state park and forest commission with reference to environmental protection commissioner.

Sec. 23-5h. Acquisition of property. The commissioner is authorized to acquire real property or any interest therein for natural area preserves by purchase, gift or devise. The commissioner is authorized to accept any gift or bequest of money or other personal property to be used to acquire natural area preserves, or any interest therein, or to meet expenses involved in matters pertaining to the system of natural area preserves. Such funds shall be held by the State Treasurer to be used and expended under the direction of said commissioner.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 8; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 166.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner.

Sec. 23-5i. Responsibility of other public authorities. Nothing in sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive, shall limit any other duly appointed public authority from exercising responsibility related to the suppression of fire, or any noxious insect, animal or plant, when such action is deemed necessary to protect public health or safety.

(1969, P.A. 727, S. 9.)

Sec. 23-6. Maintenance of state park and forest lands adjoining other states. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection is authorized to cooperate with any official or agency having similar authority in any adjoining state for the care and maintenance of state park and forest lands lying along the boundary of this and such adjoining state, and may enter into an agreement with any such official or agency for the joint care and maintenance of such lands, upon such terms and for such periods as may be mutually agreed upon.

(1949 Rev., S. 3433; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 167; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced “commission”, referring to state park and forest commission, with “commissioner of environmental protection”; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-7. Memorials in state parks and reservations. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may erect, or permit to be erected, upon any state park, ground or reservation any suitable monument, memorial or memorial tablet in commemoration of the services of any soldier, sailor or marine, or any organization of soldiers, sailors or marines, who participated in any war or engagement in which any of the forces of the United States were engaged. Said commissioner may assume the care and maintenance of any public monument offered to him, or any public monument which is not under the care of any commission or department of the state, if he deems such action advisable, and the expense of such care and maintenance shall be paid by the state.

(1949 Rev., S. 3434; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 168; P.A. 96-180, S. 83, 166; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-8. Open spaces for recreation. State goal for acquisition of open space. State-owned lands valuable for conservation purposes. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall have power, acting by himself or with local authorities, to acquire, maintain and make available to the public open spaces for recreation. Said commissioner may take, in the name of the state and for the benefit of the public, by purchase, gift or devise, lands and rights in land and personal estate for public open spaces, or take bonds for the conveyance thereof, or may lease the same for a period not exceeding five years, with an option to buy, and may preserve and care for such public reservations, and, in his discretion and upon such terms as he may approve, such other open spaces within this state as may be entrusted, given or devised to the state by the United States or by cities, towns, corporations or individuals for the purposes of public recreation, or for the preservation of natural beauty or historical association, provided said commissioner shall not take or contract to take by purchase or lease any land or other property for an amount or amounts beyond such sum or sums as have been appropriated or contributed therefor. No provision of this section shall be construed to set aside any terms or conditions under which gifts or bequests of land have been accepted by the commissioner.

(b) Twenty-one per cent of the state’s land area shall be held as open space land. The goal of the state’s open space acquisition program shall be to acquire land such that ten per cent of the state’s land area is held by the state as open space land and not less than eleven per cent of the state’s land area is held by municipalities, water companies or nonprofit land conservation organizations as open space land consistent with the provisions of sections 7-131d to 7-131g, inclusive. Such program shall not affect the ability of any water company to reclassify or sell any land, or interest in land, which was not acquired, in whole or in part, with funds made available under the program established under sections 7-131d to 7-131g, inclusive. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Commissioner of Public Health and the Council on Environmental Quality established under section 22a-11, municipalities, regional planning agencies and private nonprofit land conservation organizations, shall prepare not later than December 15, 2012, and update not less than once every five years thereafter, a comprehensive strategy for achieving the state goal. Such strategy shall include, but not be limited to: (1) An estimate of the acres of land preserved by the state, municipalities, water companies and nonprofit land conservation organizations, (2) an evaluation of the potential methods, cost and benefits of establishing a system for increasing the accuracy of such estimate of acres of land preserved by encouraging the voluntary submittal of information regarding new acquisitions by municipalities, water companies and nonprofit land conservation organizations, including the relative costs and benefits of having a state agency, a constituent unit of higher education or a nongovernmental organization host and operate such system, (3) timetables for acquisition of land by the state, (4) plans for management of such land, (5) an assessment of resources to be used for acquisition and management of such land, and (6) the highest priorities for acquisition of land, including the wildlife habitat and ecological resources identified to be in greatest need for immediate preservation, and the general location of each high priority. On or before January first, annually, the commissioner shall submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment regarding the strategy and the progress being made towards the goals. For the purpose of this subsection, “to acquire land” includes, but is not limited to, the acquisition in fee simple of land and the acquisition of easements for the conservation of land.

(c) To further the efforts to preserve open space in the state and to help realize the goal established in subsection (b) of this section to have at least twenty-one per cent of the state’s land held by the state, municipalities, land conservation organizations and water utilities as open space, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shall conduct an evaluation of lands of class A water companies, as defined in section 16-1, to determine the resource value and potential desirability of such lands for purchase for open space or public outdoor recreation or natural resource conservation or preservation. The water companies and land conservation organizations shall work cooperatively with the department and provide maps and other information to assist the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in the evaluation of these properties and said department shall develop strategies for alternative methods of funding the preservation of water company lands in perpetuity as open space.

(d) To further the efforts to preserve open space in the state and to help realize the goals established in subsection (b) of this section, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall establish a process by which each state agency may identify lands owned by the state that are in the custody of such state agency and that are valuable for conservation purposes. The commissioner shall include in the comprehensive strategy prepared pursuant to subsection (b) of this section strategies for preserving in perpetuity state lands of high conservation value. In developing such strategies, the commissioner shall consult with each state agency that has custody of such lands and shall consider the present and future needs of each such state agency.

(e) To further the efforts to preserve open space in the state and to help realize the goals established in subsection (b) of this section, on or before October 1, 2014, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with each state agency, shall identify lands owned by the state that are in the custody of each state agency and that are valuable for conservation purposes. Said commissioner shall consult with the Commissioner of Public Health about any lands owned by the state that are identified as water supply lands.

(1949 Rev., S. 3436; 1951, 1953, S. 1857d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 169; P.A. 96-180, S. 84, 166; P.A. 97-227, S. 1, 5; P.A. 99-173, S. 46, 65; 99-235, S. 2, 7; P.A. 00-26, S. 3; P.A. 01-204, S. 12, 29; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9, S. 73, 131; P.A. 11-80, S. 1, 71; P.A. 12-152, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; P.A. 97-227 added new Subsec. (b) re state goal for the acquisition of open space and designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 99-173 amended Subsec. (b) re state goal of 11% of state land held by municipalities, water companies or nonprofit land conservation organizations as open space, effective June 23, 1999; P.A. 99-235 amended Subsec. (b) to reword the state goal of open space acquisition, to delete a reference to consistency of certain open space with Sec. 25-37c, to clarify that this section shall not affect the ability of water companies to sell land not purchased with money from the state for open space acquisition and to provide specific calendar year goals for open space acquisition, effective June 29, 1999; P.A. 00-26 amended Subsec. (b) by deleting “by the state” re land held as open space land and making a technical change; P.A. 01-204, S. 12, codified as new Subsec. (c), required the Department of Environmental Protection, in furtherance of the state’s open space goal, to evaluate the lands of class A water companies to determine their resource value and potential for purchase for open space or public outdoor recreation or natural resource conservation or preservation, required water companies and land conservation or organizations to work cooperatively with the department, and required the department to develop strategies for alternative methods of funding the preservation of water company lands as open space, effective July 11, 2001 (Revisor’s note: The Revisors editorially designated P.A. 01-204, S. 12 as new Subsec. (c), and deemed a reference to “public act 99-173” to be a reference to section 46 of public act 99-173 which amended Subsec. (b) of this section); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9 revised effective date of P.A. 01-204 but without affecting this section; P.A. 11-80 changed “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and changed “Department of Environmental Protection” to “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 12-152 amended Subsec. (b) to eliminate former goals for acreage to be acquired in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, require that commissioner, in consultation with Commissioners of Agriculture and Public Health and Council on Environmental Quality, municipalities, regional planning agencies and private nonprofit land conservation organizations, prepare and update, not less than once every 5 years, a comprehensive strategy for achieving state’s open space goal and that such strategy include elements enumerated in Subdivs. (1) to (6), and define “to acquire land”, added Subsec. (d) re establishment of a process for each state agency to identify lands that are valuable for conservation purposes and added Subsec. (e) re identification of lands owned by the state that are valuable for conservation purposes.

Cited. 116 C. 120.

Sec. 23-8a. Conveyance of certain state land previously held as protected open space. On and after June 29, 1999, any person, organization or political subdivision of the state to whom the state proposes to convey state park land, forest land or other state land held as protected open space shall execute a conservation easement or similar encumbrance in favor of the state which provides for the same restriction on development of such land as that which was in effect for such land immediately prior to such conveyance. No such state land may be conveyed without such an encumbrance.

(P.A. 99-235, S. 4, 7.)

History: P.A. 99-235 effective June 29, 1999.

Sec. 23-8b. Purchase of certain water company land in Fairfield County. Requirements for preservation. Jurisdiction by certain officers and patrolmen. (a) Any contract for the protection of open space entered into by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection with BHC Company, Aquarion or Kelda Group, jointly or individually, and The Nature Conservancy, for purchase of land or interests in land from said companies shall be on such terms and conditions as are approved by the commissioner. Such terms and conditions shall provide for the filing on the land records in the town in which the land is located, restrictions or easements that provide that all land or interest in land subject to such purchase is preserved in perpetuity in its natural and open condition for the protection of natural resources and public water supplies. Such restrictions or easements may allow only those recreational activities which are not prohibited in subsection (c) of section 7-131d and shall allow for improvements and activities necessary only for land and natural resource management and safe and adequate potable water. Such permanent restrictions or easements shall be in favor of the State of Connecticut acting through the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection. Such permanent restrictions or easements shall also include a requirement that the property be available to the general public for recreational purposes as permitted under subsection (c) of section 7-131d and shall allow for the installation of such permanent fixtures as may be necessary to provide such permitted recreational activities. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the state are hereby authorized to carry out and fulfill their obligations under any such contract. In addition to such rights as said companies may have pursuant to chapter 53, those rights in and to land or interests in land reserved by said companies in their conveyances to the state in accordance with the provisions of said contract shall be enforceable in equity.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-50d, the right of the state to acquire such water company land from any of said companies shall be superior to any other water company or municipality or a municipality’s right of eminent domain.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 25-32, the Commissioner of Public Health may grant one or more permits, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d) of said section 25-32 for the sale of said companies’ Class II land to The Nature Conservancy and for the sale or assignment of interests in land on Class I and II land to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection or to The Nature Conservancy.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 16-43 and subsection (b) of section 16-50c, (1) the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority may accept applications for a sale or assignment of water company land under the provisions of this section prior to the issuance by the Department of Public Health of a permit for such sale or assignment pursuant to section 25-32, provided final Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approval of any such sale shall not be granted unless the Department of Public Health has issued such a permit pursuant to said section 25-32, and (2) no prior public notices of said company or companies’ intent to sell such water company land shall be required.

(e) Any land purchased by the state under the terms of any such contract shall be preserved in perpetuity predominantly in its natural scenic and open condition for the protection of natural resources while allowing for recreation consistent with such protection.

(f) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, special police officers for utility companies, appointed by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection pursuant to section 29-19, and conservation officers and special conservation officers and patrolmen, appointed by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to section 26-5, shall have jurisdiction over any land purchased by the state under the terms of any such contract and such officers shall have the same authority to make arrests on such lands as they have under section 29-18 for lands owned by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

(June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-7, S. 27, 28; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9, S. 15, 131; P.A. 03-218, S. 11; P.A. 11-51, S. 134; 11-80, S. 1.)

History: June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-7 effective July 1, 2001; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-9 amended Subsec. (a) to provide for filings of restrictions or easements consistent with Sec. 7-131d, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 03-218 added Subsec. (f) re jurisdiction of certain officers and patrolmen, effective July 1, 2003; pursuant to P.A. 11-51, “Commissioner of Public Safety” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection” in Subsec. (f), effective July 1, 2011; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, “Department of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Public Utility Control” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Public Utilities Regulatory Authority”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-9. Acquisition of property by eminent domain. The commissioner is authorized to take land or any interest therein by right of eminent domain in the manner provided for in section 48-12 for the public purposes for which it is authorized to acquire land under the provisions of section 23-8.

(1949 Rev., S. 3437; 1967, P.A. 864, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 170.)

History: 1967 act authorized taking of land “by right of eminent domain” pursuant to Secs. 48-12 and 48-16, deleting “by condemnation”, and deleted detailed provisions re procedure for taking, compensation, etc.; 1971 act replaced reference to state park and forest commission with reference to environmental protection commissioner and deleted reference to Sec. 48-16.

See Sec. 48-10 re determination of damages in cases brought by state to condemn land by state referee.

Former provision for determination of damages by three appraisers held impliedly repealed by Sec. 48-10. 116 C. 119.

Sec. 23-9a. Acquisition of easements for maintenance of dams. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may acquire by purchase, lease or gift, or by condemnation in the manner provided by part I of chapter 835, such land, easements or rights-of-way as are needed in connection with maintenance, repairs, reconstruction or remodeling of state-owned dams.

(1963, P.A. 341; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 171; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission with environmental protection commissioner; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-9b. West Rock Ridge conservation area and supplement. Notice requirements re land use changes or transfers. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall review the West Rock Ridge conservation area established in special act 75-80, as amended by special acts 76-47 and 77-49, and the West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement established in special act 79-92, and shall designate, within said areas, certain parcels for priority acquisition by the state.

(b) The commissioner shall cause to be recorded on the land records of the appropriate town for each such priority parcel a notice of the requirements and restrictions on such parcels contained in special act 75-80, as amended by special acts 76-47 and 77-49 and special act 79-92, including the requirement that each owner of any such property notify the commissioner of any transfer, development or change in use, including proposals for a change in use which necessitate the approval of any state or local board or agency. On or before ninety days after such recordation, the commissioner shall send, by registered mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the notice, together with a statement as to where the notice was filed, to the property owner at his last-known address.

(P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; P.A. 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; P.A. 94-147; P.A. 95-220, S. 4–6; P.A. 03-131, S. 9; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: (Revisor’s note: P.A. 88-230, P.A. 90-98 and P.A. 93-142 authorized substitution of “judicial district of Hartford” for “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at Hartford” in public and special acts of the 1994 regular and special sessions, effective September 1, 1996); P.A. 95-220 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1996, to September 1, 1998, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 03-131 deleted former Subsecs. (c), (d) and (e) re notice, certification and penalty, effective June 26, 2003; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” in Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-10. Development of recreational areas. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may develop recreational areas or picnic areas for public use and may erect other structures in the state parks and forests within the limitations of any funds specifically appropriated therefor, provided such appropriations shall be expended on state-owned property.

(1953, June, 1955, S. 1858d; 1957, P.A. 219; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 172; P.A. 96-180, S. 85, 166; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-10a. Designation of state hiking trails. Those portions of the Connecticut blue blazed trails system which cross state property are hereby designated as state hiking trails.

(P.A. 77-300.)

Sec. 23-10b. Outdoor recreation-related services. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may provide outdoor recreation-related services to the public at state park and forest recreation areas. Such services may include rentals of bicycles, boats, cabins and tents, sale of firewood and operation of camp stores supplying camping necessaries. Fees for such services shall be set by the commissioner, according to market value. Revenue from such services shall be deposited in the Conservation Fund and credited to an enterprise program account for use in the state park and forest facilities. Such services and fees shall not affect admission, parking, camping and related existing fees. No services shall compete with a concessionaire under contract with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection at the time such service is offered.

(P.A. 01-150, S. 15; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-10c. Designation of trails for use by horseback riders. Section 23-10c is repealed, effective July 1, 2012.

(P.A. 01-150, S. 16; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1, S. 293.)

Sec. 23-10d. Equine Advisory Council. There is established an Equine Advisory Council which shall assist the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to study the issue of preservation of equine trails in the state. The council shall consist of the president of the Connecticut Horse Council and six representatives from an organization that serves the horse industry in the state: (1) One of whom shall reside in the first congressional district, appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, (2) one of whom shall reside in the second congressional district, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, (3) one of whom shall reside in the third congressional district, appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, (4) one of whom shall reside in the fourth congressional district, appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, (5) one of whom shall reside in the fifth congressional district, appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, and (6) one of whom shall also be a member of the Connecticut Forests and Parks Association, appointed by the minority leader of the Senate. All appointments to the council shall be made not later than thirty days after May 22, 2007. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority. The members of the council shall elect a chairperson of the council from among the members of the council. Such chairperson shall schedule the first meeting of the council, which shall be held not later than sixty days after May 22, 2007. Members of the council shall not be compensated for their services.

(P.A. 07-42, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 07-42 effective May 22, 2007; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Department of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-10e. Equestrian use on multiuse trails on state park and forest lands. Nonequine use of trails. Temporary closing of multiuse trails. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall permit equestrian use on multiuse trails on state park and forest lands, unless specifically prohibited by said commissioner. Prior to a decision to prohibit equine use of any multiuse trail on state park and forest lands that have historically been utilized by equestrians, said commissioner shall consult with the Equine Advisory Council established pursuant to section 23-10d.

(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit nonequine uses by the public of the trails specified in subsection (a) of this section nor prohibit the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection from temporarily closing any multiuse trail for safety reasons or the protection of natural resources.

(c) The permitting of equestrian use on a multiuse trail by the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall not be deemed an expansion of such trail.

(P.A. 09-180, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1, S. 264.)

History: P.A. 09-180 effective June 30, 2009; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1 amended Subsec. (a) to delete requirement that Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection preserve certain trails for equine use and add provisions re equestrian use on multiuse trails and consultation with Equine Advisory Council, amended Subsec. (b) to add provision re temporary closure of any multiuse trail for safety reasons or protection of natural resources and amended Subsec. (c) to change “preservation of a trail” to “permitting of equestrian use on a multiuse trail”, effective July 1, 2012.

Secs. 23-10f and 23-10g. Reserved for future use.

Sec. 23-10h. Heritage parks: Legislative policy. The General Assembly recognizes that the cities in the state have a rich historical and cultural heritage, that many of the cities are in need of economic revitalization and that preservation and interpretation of such heritage can foster revitalization by encouraging private sector investment and tourism. Therefore, the General Assembly declares that it is the policy of the state to develop new recreational opportunities in conjunction with the preservation and interpretation of such heritage through the designation of a system of heritage parks so that the quality of life for Connecticut residents may be improved.

(P.A. 87-463, S. 1, 4.)

Sec. 23-10i. Designation of heritage parks. Advisory boards. Public hearing. Municipal approval. Designation of additional sites. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development and the State Historic Commission, shall develop criteria and guidelines for the designation of heritage parks consisting of sites in a region linked by a common social, historical or economic theme. Thereafter, in accordance with such criteria and guidelines, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may designate the boundaries, name and theme of any such park, as well as any physical sites to be included. Any designation shall be consistent with the plan for development of outdoor recreation and other natural resources authorized under section 22a-21 and shall be made after consideration of the significance of the heritage of the sites to be included and the economic benefit to the state from such designation. Sites designated for inclusion in a heritage park shall not be required to be contiguous to one another and need not be owned by the state.

(b) Prior to designating a heritage park, the commissioner shall establish an advisory board to advise him on the designation of the boundaries, name, theme and sites to be included in a potential heritage park. The board shall consist of not less than ten members representing municipalities located within the boundaries of the proposed heritage park. The number of members from each municipality shall be determined based on the ratio of the population of such municipality to the population of all the municipalities to be included in the proposed heritage park. The commissioner shall appoint the members of the board from lists submitted by the legislative bodies of the municipalities located within the boundaries of the proposed heritage park.

(c) The commissioner shall conduct a public hearing concerning the boundaries, name, theme and sites to be included in a proposed heritage park at least thirty days prior to designation of such park. At least thirty days before such hearing, the commissioner shall cause to be published once, in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the area affected, notice of the proposal to designate a heritage park along with notice of the time, date and location of the public hearing to be held on such designation.

(d) The designation of the name, boundaries and theme of a heritage park shall not be effective until it is approved by each municipality that is located within the boundaries of such park, by vote of its legislative body. No site shall be designated for inclusion in such park unless the owner of such site consents to its inclusion.

(e) Upon designation of a heritage park, the commissioner shall establish an advisory board to advise him on the promotion and development of such park. The members shall be appointed as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(f) The commissioner, after consultation with the advisory board established pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, may designate additional sites to be included in a heritage park, provided the owners of any such site consent to the designation. The commissioner may, after a public hearing held pursuant to the notice provisions of subsection (c) of this section and upon approval by each municipality located within the boundaries of a heritage park, alter the boundaries, name and theme of such heritage park.

(g) The commissioner may, within available appropriations, (1) establish and operate centers for the distribution of information about heritage parks, and (2) lease or purchase land or buildings and accept gifts, donations or contributions for the purposes of this section.

(P.A. 87-463, S. 2, 4; P.A. 95-250, S. 1; P.A. 96-211, S. 1, 5, 6; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 95-250 and P.A. 96-211 replaced Commissioner and Department of Economic Development with Commissioner and Department of Economic and Community Development; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” in Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-11. Licenses for use of portions of parks or forests. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may grant revocable licenses for public purposes to any person for the use of any portion of any state forest or state park if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

(1957, P.A. 220; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 173; P.A. 96-180, S. 86, 166; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-12. Transfer of control of open spaces. Any town or other municipality may transfer the care and control of any open spaces owned or controlled by it to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection upon such terms and for such periods as may be mutually agreed upon, or may enter into any agreement with said commissioner for the joint care or preservation of open spaces within or adjacent to such town or municipality, and said commissioner may, in like manner, transfer the care and control of any open spaces controlled by him to any local public authorities upon such terms and for such periods as may be agreed upon.

(1949 Rev., S. 3438; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 174; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-13. Animals for public parks. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection or the custodians of any state or municipal park may accept, either by purchase or gift, for free exhibition purposes only, any fish, crustacean, bird or animal.

(1949 Rev., S. 3439; 1961, P.A. 517, S. 103; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 175; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1961 act deleted reference to counties; 1971 act replaced “commissioners”, presumably members of state park and forest commission, with commissioner of environmental protection; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-14. Rights-of-way in state parks and forests. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may grant rights-of-way or other easements on or with respect to any state park or state forest, if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes with respect to such lands.

(1949 Rev., S. 3440; 1949, S. 1859d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 176; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-14a. (Formerly Sec. 19a-192a). Payments to certified ambulance services for calls at state parks or forests. Section 23-14a is repealed.

(P.A. 86-358, S. 1, 3; P.A. 87-422, S. 1, 3; P.A. 91-369, S. 35, 36.)

Sec. 23-15. State park receipts deposited in General Fund. All receipts from the operation of the state parks shall be deposited in the General Fund in accordance with the provisions of section 4-32. Expenditures incurred by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for the operation, maintenance and extension of or improvements to state parks shall be paid with moneys appropriated from the General Fund.

(June, 1955, S. 1860d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 177; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission with department of environmental protection; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Department of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-15a. Use of state parks. Reimbursement of municipalities. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall, within available appropriations, reimburse municipalities for necessary costs incurred when the use of a state park in those municipalities is so great as to impede traffic, limit the movement of emergency vehicles or create a risk of a breach of peace or a threat to public safety.

(P.A. 00-192, S. 31, 102; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 00-192 effective July 1, 2000; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-15b. Maintenance, repair and improvement account. Established. Subaccounts. Use of funds. (a) There is established a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund, known as the maintenance, repair and improvement account. All funds collected from rent paid by any person for the use of state park property for any special event of limited duration, including, but not limited to, weddings and receptions, shall be deposited into the account unless the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection enters into a written agreement, signs an instrument or issues a license which specifically states otherwise. Said account may also receive funds from private or public sources, including the federal government or a municipal government.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, any funds received by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be deposited in the General Fund and credited to the maintenance, repair and improvement account. Within said account there shall be a subaccount for each state park from which funds are collected pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, which subaccounts shall be held separate and apart from each other. Each subaccount shall be available to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection for maintaining, making improvements to, erecting structures on or repairing the property, including houses and other buildings, of the state park for which such subaccount was established. Nothing in this section shall prevent the commissioner from obtaining or using funds from sources other than the maintenance, repair and improvement account for the purposes described in this subsection. Funds in the maintenance, repair and improvement account shall be used to supplement state funds appropriated for the general operation of state parks and shall not replace such appropriated funds for purposes of such general operation.

(c) On or before October 1, 2010, and semiannually thereafter, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall report to the Office of Fiscal Analysis on the state parks for which funds have been collected pursuant to subsection (a) of this section. Such report shall include (1) the amount of funds received into the maintenance, repair and improvement account, itemized by subaccount, (2) the amount of funds the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has expended from the account for each park, and (3) the projects for which such funds have been expended. Said commissioner shall post the same information on the department’s Internet web site.

(P.A. 10-3, S. 19; P.A. 11-59, S. 10; 11-80, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 10-3 effective April 14, 2010; P.A. 11-59 made a technical change in Subsec. (c), effective July 1, 2011; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-16. Leases of camp sites. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may execute with residents and nonresidents of this state leases of camping sites and buildings on the state parks for limited periods except as provided in section 23-16a and the proceeds from such leases, together with any other income resulting from the use of the state parks, shall be added to the General Fund as provided in section 23-15. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish a schedule of fees payable for the leasing of state camping sites and buildings for residents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred thirty-five per cent of the amounts charged according to the schedule of camping permit fees established by said commissioner and in effect as of April 1, 2009. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish a schedule of fees payable for the leasing of state camping sites and buildings for nonresidents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred fifty per cent of the amounts charged according to the schedule of camping permit fees established by said commissioner and in effect as of April 14, 2010. Annually, not later than the first day of November, said commissioner shall allocate from funds available for state park and forest areas in the then current fiscal year, an amount not less than fifty per cent of the portion of such fees collected in the preceding fiscal year directly related to the amount of increase in such fees as required in this section, to be used for purposes of maintenance and improvement of such state camping sites and buildings. Any fees paid for any lease under this section shall not be subject to refund under section 22a-10 unless (1) the lessee gives notice of cancellation to the commissioner not later than fourteen days prior to the date such lease is to commence, (2) the park is closed by executive order of the Governor, or (3) the lessee submits proof, satisfactory to the commissioner, of a death or serious illness in the family which prevents use of the facility during the period of the lease. The commissioner may deduct a reasonable service charge from any amount refunded pursuant to subdivisions (1) and (3) of this section.

(1949 Rev., S. 3442; March, 1958, P.A. 27, S. 12; 1969, P.A. 733, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 178; P.A. 80-435; P.A. 81-344; P.A. 92-195, S. 1, 3; P.A. 10-3, S. 64; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1969 act specified that leases may be granted to residents and nonresidents except as provided in Sec. 23-16a; 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission with commissioner of environmental protection; P.A. 80-435 added provisions describing schedule of fees to be implemented not later than April 1, 1981; P.A. 81-344 changed deadline for establishment of fee schedule from April 1, 1981, to April 1, 1982, and changed minimum increase from 150% to 175% of rates in effect on April 1, 1980, applicable in all cases, deleting higher rate of increase (200%) for nonresidents; P.A. 92-195 added provision re refunds under Sec. 22a-10; P.A. 10-3 replaced former provision re schedule of fees with provisions requiring commissioner, not later than May 1, 2010, to establish schedule of fees for leasing state camping sites and buildings for state residents in amounts not greater than 135% of amounts charged by commissioner as of April 1, 2009, and for nonresidents in amounts not greater than 150% of amounts charged by commissioner as of April 14, 2010, effective April 14, 2010, and applicable to fees charged on and after May 1, 2010; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-16a. Leasing of camping sites at shore parks. Pilot program. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall not lease camping sites at shore parks to the same camping party for more than three weeks during the camping season. The commissioner shall (1) lease camping sites to the same camping party for additional periods of up to three weeks, provided such camping party vacates the shore park for a minimum of five days between leases, or (2) lease any vacant camping sites on a first come, first served basis. The commissioner may adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to establish limits on the length of camping site leases. The lease length limitation in this subsection shall be effective until June 30, 2013, or until such regulations are adopted, whichever is later.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall establish a pilot program for the 2013 camping season, allowing five per cent of camping sites in shore parks to be leased by the same camping party without a limitation on the number of days leased. Notwithstanding the schedule of fees established pursuant to section 23-16, the commissioner may charge a nightly fee for such camping sites equal to one hundred fifty per cent of the applicable fee charged during the 2012 camping season.

(2) On or before February 1, 2014, said commissioner shall report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment and finance, revenue and bonding regarding the pilot program established pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the implementation of the pilot program, its impact upon the availability of camping sites, the reaction of families using the camping sites and recommendations for changes, if any, in the pilot program.

(1969, P.A. 733, S. 2; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 179; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; P.A. 12-98, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced reference to state park and forest commission with reference to commissioner of environmental protection and reworded provisions re phasing out extended leases by reducing same in equal numbers each year for 5 years; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 12-98 replaced former provisions re phase out of certain leases of camping sites at shore parks with Subsec. (a) re leasing of camping sites at shore parks to same camping party, leasing camping sites on a first come, first served basis and lease length limits, and Subsec. (b) re establishment of a pilot program for the 2013 camping season, effective June 8, 2012.

Sec. 23-17. Trust funds. The State Treasurer is authorized, with the approval of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, to receive and hold in trust for the state, exempt from taxation, any grant or devise of land or rights in land and any gift or bequest of money or other personal property made for the purposes of this chapter, and shall preserve and invest any funds so received in such securities as trustees are permitted to invest in. Such invested funds shall be known as the State Park Fund and shall be used and expended under the direction of said commissioner and subject to his orders.

(1949 Rev., S. 3443; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 180; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-18. State Park Police. The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection may, upon application of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, appoint, during his pleasure, one or more persons employed upon the public reservations in charge of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection and designated by him, who, having been sworn, may arrest any person in such reservation for any offense committed therein and take such person before some competent authority. Each such policeman shall, when on duty, wear in plain view a shield bearing the words “State Park Police” or “State Forest Police”, whichever is appropriate.

(1949 Rev., S. 3444; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 181; P.A. 77-614, S. 486, 610; P.A. 11-51, S. 134; 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission with environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of state police with commissioner of public safety, effective January 1, 1979; pursuant to P.A. 11-51, “Commissioner of Public Safety” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection”, effective July 1, 2011; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-19. State Forester. There shall be within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection a State Forester who shall be responsible to the commissioner for the performance of his duties and shall be accountable to the commissioner in all his official activities. The State Forester shall be a technically trained forester with not less than ten years’ experience in professional forestry. He shall be responsible for forest management and protection of department lands and for assuming a leadership role in the conservation, management and protection of state forest resources.

(1949 Rev., S. 3445; 1951, June, 1955, S. 1863d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 182; P.A. 81-354, S. 2, 4; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission and its director with references to environmental protection commissioner, deleting obsolete references to director’s office and his authority to make expenditures of state or federal funds if approved by commission; P.A. 81-354 made state forester’s position classified and described his responsibilities; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Department of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

See Sec. 12-96 et seq. re taxation of forested land.

See Secs. 23-65f to 23-65j, inclusive, re State Forester’s duties re registration of loggers and foresters.

Sec. 23-20. Powers and duties of commissioner. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall administer the statutes relating to forestry and the protection of forests. The commissioner may: (1) Employ such field and office assistants as may be necessary for the execution of his or her duties, (2) from time to time, publish the forestry laws of the state and other literature of general interest and practical value pertaining to forestry, (3) enter into cooperation with departments of the federal government for the promotion of forest resource management and protection within the state, and (4) with the assistance of the State Forester, develop and administer plans for the protection and management of publicly owned woodlands. Such plans shall include, but not be limited to, proposals for the establishment of forest plantations and the marketing of forest products.

(b) Not later than January 10, 2010, the commissioner shall apply to have publicly owned woodlands or products from such woodlands certified or licensed under one or more of the following, provided the commissioner uses private funding from gifts, donations or bequests, as authorized in this section, for the cost of all such applications: (1) The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program, (2) the American Tree Farm System, (3) the Canadian Standards Association’s Sustainable Management System Standards, (4) the Finnish Standard, (5) the Forest Stewardship Council, (6) the Pan-European Forest Certification Program, (7) the Swedish Standards, (8) the United Kingdom Woodland Assurance Scheme, (9) the Smart Wood Program, as administered by the Rainforest Alliance, or (10) any other programs deemed necessary, as determined by the commissioner. The commissioner shall implement any sustainable forestry practice necessary for such certification or licensure. The commissioner may accept, on behalf of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, any gifts, donations or bequests for the purposes of applying for and obtaining such certification or licensure.

(c) (1) The commissioner may harvest forest products from woodlands owned by the state and take such other measures as the commissioner deems necessary for the efficient management and protection of such woodlands and may sell wood, timber and other products from any state woodlands whenever the commissioner deems such sales desirable and may develop recreational facilities in the woodlands managed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The commissioner shall charge no less than ten dollars per cord for any such wood or timber sold as fuel.

(2) There is established an account to be known as the “timber harvesting revolving account” which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund. Proceeds from the harvest of timber from state forests and state wildlife management areas shall be deposited in such account. The commissioner shall use moneys in such account for the purpose of developing forest management plans to guide the harvest of timber from state forests and state wildlife management areas and for all reasonable direct expenses relating to the administration and operation of such plans in such state forests and wildlife management areas. The commissioner may accept, on behalf of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, any gifts, donations, loans or bequests for the purposes of depositing such funds into the timber harvesting revolving account. Any such loan from a nonprofit organization qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as amended from time to time, shall be repaid from such account not later than two years after entering such loan agreement or at a time and upon terms agreed upon by the commissioner and such nonprofit organization. The account shall not exceed one hundred thousand dollars. Any remaining proceeds shall be deposited in the General Fund.

(d) The commissioner may rent state forest property and buildings thereon under his or her jurisdiction for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, provided any lease for such property and building for a term of more than ten years shall be subject to the review and approval of the State Properties Review Board. The proceeds of such sales, rentals and any receipts resulting from management of the state forests, or from reimbursements from other state departments or state institutions, shall be deposited in the General Fund in accordance with the provisions of section 4-32. Expenditures incurred by the commissioner for the protection, management and development of the forests, the preparation and marketing of forest products and the acquisition of land for the extension and completion of the state forests as provided in section 23-21 may be paid with moneys appropriated from the General Fund.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to land owned or managed by the state on which forest resource management measures may be restricted by deed, statute, or incompatible use. As used in this section, “woodland” means land owned or managed by a state agency and stocked with forest tree species not less than six hundred stems per acre and at least one year old.

(1949 Rev., S. 3446; 1949, 1951, June, 1955, S. 1864d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 183; P.A. 74-83, S. 1; P.A. 81-354, S. 1, 4; P.A. 82-142; P.A. 84-82; P.A. 04-115, S. 1; P.A. 08-172, S. 1; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3, S. 469; P.A. 11-80, S. 1; 11-192, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act transferred power to administer statutes concerning forests from state forester to commissioner of environmental protection, deleted references to supervisory duties of state park and forest commission and its director with regard to actions for which state forester was formerly responsible under section and replaced reference to the commission with reference to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 74-83 substituted “personnel” for “men”; P.A. 81-354 required commissioner to charge no less than $10 per cord; P.A. 82-142 amended the section to expand land available for forest resource management and sale of wood from state forests to state woodlands, defined “woodlands” and authorized the commissioner of environmental protection to prepare forest management and protection plans without a prior request where previously his actions were dependent upon request of state agencies and institutions or municipalities if applicable; P.A. 84-82 extended the maximum duration of leases from 2 to 25 years and added a provision requiring review by the state properties review board for leases of 10 years or more; P.A. 04-115 authorized commissioner to have publicly-owned woodlands or products from such woodlands certified or licensed by specified entities, provided private funding is used for the cost of all applications, authorized commissioner to accept gifts, donations and bequests on behalf of department re applying for and obtaining certification and licensure, provided that proceeds from management of state forests in excess of $875,000 derived from sale of wood, timber and other products from publicly-owned woodlands shall be deposited in the Conservation Fund and made technical changes; P.A. 08-172 required commissioner to apply to have publicly owned woodlands or products from such woodlands certified or licensed not later than January 10, 2010, added “(10) any other programs deemed necessary, as determined by the commissioner” to list of authorized programs, changed proceeds deposit amount to amount in excess of $600,000, specified that moneys are only to be used to support forestry programs and changed certain mandatory expenditure payments to discretionary payments for moneys appropriated from the General Fund, effective June 6, 2008; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3 deleted provision re deposit of annual proceeds in excess of $600,000 derived from sale of certain products in the Conservation Fund and re use of same to support forestry programs; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 11-192 designated existing provisions as Subsecs. (a), (b), (c)(1), (d) and (e), added Subsec. (c)(2) re timber harvesting revolving account and made technical changes, effective July 13, 2011.

See Sec. 12-107d re classification of land as forest land.

See Secs. 23-65f to 23-65j, inclusive, re commissioner’s duties re registration of loggers and foresters.

Sec. 23-21. Purchase and sale of land by commissioner. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may buy land in the state suitable for the growth of timber, at a price not exceeding ten dollars per acre, unless a higher price is authorized by the Governor. Such land shall be deeded to the state and shall be called a state forest. The commissioner may accept deeds and devises of such lands which may be offered to the state without cost. He may, with the approval of the Governor, sell or exchange any land acquired for state forests or any easement or interest therein, and may, in the name of the state, execute deeds for such purposes, provided no land shall be sold or exchanged by said commissioner pursuant to this section unless land of at least equal fair market value and reasonably equivalent usefulness has been substituted for such land. No provision of this section shall be construed to set aside any terms or conditions under which gifts or bequests of land have been accepted for state forests.

(1949 Rev., S. 3447; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 184; P.A. 79-603; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state forester with references to commissioner of environmental protection and deleted obsolete provision requiring consent of state park and forest commission for purchase of land; P.A. 79-603 prohibited sale or exchange of land unless land of equal fair market value and equivalent usefulness is substituted for it; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-22. Acquisition of land by exchange. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may acquire land adjoining or in close proximity to an established state forest, by exchanging for title in fee simple to such land the right to cut and remove wood, lumber or other forest products from state forest land to an amount equal in value to that of the land to be acquired. The commissioner may contract on behalf of the state with the owner of land, title to which is thus acquired, to allow the cutting of a specified amount of forest products over a period not exceeding ten years, provided all such cuttings shall be carried out in accordance with regulations prescribed by the commissioner and under his supervision.

(1949 Rev., S. 3448; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 185; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state forester with references to environmental protection commissioner and deleted obsolete reference to required consent of state park and forest commission for acquisition of land; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-23. Purchase and sale of seeds and seedling stock. (a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may, in cooperation with federal agencies, or by his own initiative, raise or purchase, with moneys appropriated from the General Fund, planting seed or seedling stock for reforestation, farm windbreaks, wildlife management plantings or soil conservation or other conservation purposes within the state and may sell such seedlings to landowners in this state, state agencies, municipalities or conservation organizations at prices which will cover the approximate cost of the seedlings to the state.

(b) The commissioner may provide tree seedlings at no cost to any elementary or secondary school or conservation commission for the celebration of Arbor Day in accordance with any proclamation issued pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 10-29a.

(c) The commissioner may, when the space available in Connecticut state nurseries for the raising of seedling stock is in excess of that needed for raising such stock for use by Connecticut landowners, state agencies, municipalities or conservation organizations, enter into an agreement with any other state or the United States Forest Service to raise seedling stock in Connecticut state nurseries for use by such states or service for reforestation, farm windbreaks, wildlife management plantings or soil conservation or other conservation purposes. When the needs of landowners in this state have been met, the commissioner may: (1) Sell seedling stock to landowners, state agencies, municipalities or conservation organizations outside this state, provided the state forester or the equivalent official of the state where the seedlings are to be planted has granted permission to do so; or (2) dispose of any excess of planting seed by sale to, or exchange with, any other state forestry organization or the United States Forest Service. Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, the commissioner may sell such seeds and seedlings at prices or on such terms that he deems appropriate and such prices or terms may exceed the cost of the seeds or seedlings to the state of Connecticut.

(d) The commissioner shall require that each purchaser of seedlings, except for any nonprofit conservation organization, sign an agreement stating that the seedlings will be used for the aforementioned purposes and will not be resold at any time with roots attached and he may take such other measures as he deems necessary to assure himself that seedlings so purchased shall not be used for shade trees, landscaping or ornamental plantings. Nonprofit conservation organizations may resell or otherwise distribute seedling stock purchased from the commissioner, provided such resale or distribution is in furtherance of the purposes of this section. The commissioner shall require that each nonprofit conservation organization purchasing seedlings sign an agreement that the seedlings will be resold, distributed or otherwise utilized in furtherance of such purposes and he may take such other measures as he deems necessary to assure that seedlings so purchased shall not be used for shade trees, landscaping or ornamental plantings.

(1949 Rev., S. 3449; 1949, 1951, June, 1955, S. 1866d; February, 1965, P.A. 31, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 186; P.A. 73-316, S. 1, 2; P.A. 84-64, S. 1, 2; P.A. 96-132, S. 4, 5; P.A. 06-196, S. 155; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3, S. 484; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1965 act authorized sale or exchange of excess planting stock or seed to or with, as the case may be, forestry organizations or U.S. Forest Service; 1971 act replaced references to state forester with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 73-316 authorized agreements with other states or U.S. Forest Service for use of excess space in state nurseries to raise planting stock; P.A. 84-64 amended section by substituting “seedling” for “planting” stock and adding provisions authorizing the sale of seedling stock for any conservation purpose and the provision of seedlings to schools for Arbor Day, and to specify that seedlings shall not be used for shade trees or landscaping purposes; P.A. 96-132 divided section into Subsecs., amended Subsec. (a) to authorize purchase of seed, amended Subsec. (b) to delete a requirement that seedlings be planted on public lands, amended Subsec. (c) to add provisions re out-of-state sale of seedling stock and price, amended Subsec. (d) to exempt nonprofit conservation organizations from certain requirements re purchase of seedlings and to make alternative provisions and amended Subsec. (e) to provide that receipts be deposited into the Conservation Fund, effective July 1, 1996; P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (b), effective June 7, 2006; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3 deleted former Subsec. (e) re deposit of certain receipts and reimbursements in the Conservation Fund; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” in Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-24. Establishment of boundaries. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may establish the boundaries of any state park, state forest or other property under his jurisdiction by agreement with owners of adjoining property and may, with the approval of the Governor, exchange land with such property owners and execute deeds in the name of the state for the purpose of establishing such boundaries.

(1949 Rev., S. 3452; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 187; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced state park and forest commission with commissioner of environmental protection; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-24a. Survey of boundaries of state parks and forest lands. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall cause the boundary lines of all state parks and forest lands under the administration of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to be surveyed not later than July 1, 1984.

(P.A. 74-250, S. 1, 3; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-25. Granting of leases for public purposes. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may, with the approval of the Governor, grant leases for public purposes to any public authority for any portion of any state forest or state park if said commissioner finds that such purposes are not in conflict with park or forest purposes.

(1949 Rev., S. 3453; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 188; P.A. 96-180, S. 87, 166; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 96-180 changed “Said commissioner” to “The Commissioner of Environmental Protection”, effective June 3, 1996; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-26. Revenue from state parks and facilities. Motor vehicle parking passes. Lifetime passes for residents sixty-five years of age or older or disabled veterans. (a) The commissioner may (1) provide for the collection of fees for parking, admission, boat launching and other uses of state parks, forests, boat launches and other state recreational facilities, (2) establish from time to time the daily and seasonal amount thereof, (3) enter into contractual relations with other persons for the operation of concessions, (4) establish other sources of revenue to be derived from services to the general public using such parks, forests and facilities, (5) employ such assistants as may be necessary for the collection of such revenue. The commissioner shall deposit such revenue derived therefrom with the State Treasurer in the General Fund. On and after July 1, 1992, any increase in any fee or any establishment of a new fee under this section shall be by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the daily and seasonal amount of such parking, admission, boat launching and other use fees for residents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred thirty-five per cent of the amounts charged for such fees by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the daily and seasonal amount of such parking, admission, boat launching and other use fees for nonresidents of this state in amounts not greater than one hundred fifty per cent of the amounts charged for such fees by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the commissioner may enter into an agreement with any municipality under which the municipality may retain fees collected by municipal officers at state boat launches when state employees are not on duty.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner may establish fees for the public use of the mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, the Ellie Mitchell Pavilion at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme and Gillette Castle in East Haddam provided no fee shall be charged to any group organized as a nonprofit corporation under 26 USC 501(c)(3) for purposes of providing support to such parks or facilities and further provided the commissioner shall specify procedures and criteria for the selection of any private business which is engaged by the state to provide services during any such public use, including, but not limited to, catering services. Such fees, procedures and criteria shall be effective until June 30, 1999, or until regulations are adopted, whichever is sooner. Regulations implementing such fees, procedures and criteria shall be adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 on or before July 1, 1999. Such fees shall be comparable with rents and charges of similar properties based on fair market rates.

(c) The commissioner shall issue to any resident of the state, upon payment of a fee established by said commissioner, a nontransferable Connecticut private passenger motor vehicle pass which permits free parking throughout the calendar year at any state park, forest, boat launch or other state recreational facility, provided the commissioner shall not be required to issue such a pass to any park, forest or facility which is wholly managed by a private concessionaire and may require payment of fees for special events. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the amount of such fee for residents of this state in an amount not greater than one hundred thirty-five per cent of the amount charged for such fee by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009. Not later than May 1, 2010, said commissioner shall establish the amount of such fee for nonresidents of this state in an amount not greater than one hundred fifty per cent of the amount charged for such fee by said commissioner as of April 1, 2009.

(d) The commissioner shall issue to any resident of the state who is sixty-five years of age or older and to any resident of this state who is a disabled veteran, as defined in section 14-254, or under federal law, without fee, upon application of such resident, a nontransferable lifetime pass which shall permit free parking, admission and boat access parking for use at any state park, forest or state recreational facility, provided the commissioner shall not be required to issue such a pass for use of any park, forest or facility which is wholly managed by a private concessionaire and may require payment of fees for special events.

(1949 Rev., S. 3458; 1955, S. 1872d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 189; P.A. 73-580; P.A. 77-614, S. 19, 610; P.A. 80-172; P.A. 84-96, S. 1, 2; P.A. 87-589, S. 40, 87; P.A. 92-217, S. 4, 5; P.A. 97-229, S. 2, 3; P.A. 98-149, S. 2, 3; P.A. 10-3, S. 65; P.A. 11-59, S. 11; 11-68, S. 2.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to commission and its treasurer with references to environmental protection commissioner; P.A. 73-580 added reference to “daily and seasonal” parking fees and substituted “establish” for “fix”; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner of finance and control with secretary of the office of policy and management; P.A. 80-172 added Subsec. (b) authorizing commissioner to issue annual parking passes; P.A. 84-96 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting the provision requiring approval by the secretary of the office of policy and management re parking fees, concessions and other revenue sources; P.A. 87-589 made technical changes; P.A. 92-217 amended Subsec. (a) to specify activities and facilities the use of which the commissioner may charge fees for under this section and to specify that fee increases or new fees be by regulations adopted in accordance with chapter 54, amended Subsec. (b) to expand the days on which motor vehicle parking passes may be valid at state parks and facilities and to specify certain facilities for which the commissioner may not be required to issue such passes and added a new Subsec. (c) re lifetime passes for residents 65 years of age or older; P.A. 97-229 amended Subsec. (a) to permit agreements between commissioner and municipality re municipal retention of fees, effective June 24, 1997; P.A. 98-149 added a new Subsec. (b) re fees for use of certain state facilities and related regulations and relettered the remaining Subsecs. accordingly, effective June 4, 1998; P.A. 10-3 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provisions requiring commissioner, not later than May 1, 2010, to establish daily and seasonal amounts of parking, admission, boat launching and other use fees for state residents in amounts not greater than 135% of amounts charged by commissioner as of April 1, 2009, and for nonresidents in amounts not greater than 150% of amounts charged by commissioner as of April 1, 2009, and amended Subsec. (c) by adding provisions requiring commissioner, not later than May 1, 2010, to establish fee for pass for state residents in amount not greater than 135% of amount charged by commissioner as of April 1, 2009, and for nonresidents in amount not greater than 150% of amount charged by commissioner as of April 1, 2009, effective April 14, 2010, and applicable to fees charged on and after May 1, 2010; P.A. 11-59 made a technical change in Subsec. (c), effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 11-68 amended Subsec. (d) by adding provision re disabled veterans, effective July 8, 2011.

Sec. 23-26a. “All-terrain vehicle” defined. As used in sections 23-26b to 23-26g, inclusive, “all-terrain vehicle” means a motorized vehicle, not suitable for operation on a highway that (1) is not more than fifty inches in width, (2) has a dry weight of not more than six hundred pounds, (3) travels on two or more tires specifically designed for unimproved terrain, (4) has a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by the operator, and (5) has an engine with a piston displacement of more than fifty cubic centimeters.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 1; P.A. 02-70, S. 84.)

History: P.A. 02-70 amended definition to include vehicles that travel on two or more tires specifically designed for unimproved terrain and that have an engine with a piston displacement of more than fifty cubic centimeters, eliminating reference to three low pressure tires, effective June 3, 2002.

Sec. 23-26b. Certificate to operate all-terrain vehicles on state land. (a) No person shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land without first obtaining a certificate from the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection and unless such vehicle is registered pursuant to section 14-380. No certificate to operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land shall be issued to any person under eighteen years of age unless such person has completed a safety education course for all-terrain vehicles given pursuant to section 23-26d.

(b) The commissioner may require that any person operating an all-terrain vehicle on state land (1) furnish proof of liability and property damage insurance on the vehicle, and (2) agree to indemnify and hold harmless the state of Connecticut against any and all suits, claims, demands or judgments, including claims presented under the provisions of chapter 53, that may be allowed against the state for injury to any person as a result of the operation of an all-terrain vehicle on state land.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 2; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-26c. Availability of state land for use by persons operating all-terrain vehicles. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall evaluate the properties under his jurisdiction and the jurisdiction of other state agencies for their use by persons operating all-terrain vehicles and shall make available some of such properties for such use. In making such properties available, the commissioner shall consider minimizing the impact of all-terrain vehicles on the environment. Before making any property available that is under the jurisdiction of another state agency, the commissioner shall consult with such agency.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 3; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-26d. Regulations re safety education courses for the operation of all-terrain vehicles. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, shall, by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, formulate safety education courses for the operation of all-terrain vehicles. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may designate as his agent for giving a course any person or organization he deems qualified to act in such capacity.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 4, 9; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(c); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Consumer Protection with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 23-26e. Operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land by certain minors. No person less than twelve years of age shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land. A person between twelve and sixteen years of age may operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land provided such person has obtained a certificate pursuant to section 23-26b and is supervised by a person eighteen years of age or older who has completed a safety education course given pursuant to section 23-26d.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 5.)

Sec. 23-26f. Regulations re operation of all-terrain vehicles. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 (1) establishing standards and procedures for certification of operators of all-terrain vehicles and the use of all-terrain vehicles on state land, (2) setting a fee sufficient to cover the cost of implementing the certification program required pursuant to section 23-26b, and (3) establishing safety requirements for the operation of all-terrain vehicles on state land which shall include provisions for noise levels. Any regulations concerning safety shall be adopted in consultation with the Commissioner of Consumer Protection.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 6, 9; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(c); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Consumer Protection with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection”, effective July 1, 2011.

See chapter 255 (Secs. 14-379 et seq.) re snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles generally.

Sec. 23-26g. Penalties. (a) Any person who violates section 23-26b or 23-26e or any regulations adopted pursuant to section 23-26f shall have committed an infraction. For a second and each subsequent violation of any of said laws or regulations, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may suspend any certificate issued pursuant to section 23-26b and the right to obtain any such permit for not more than two years.

(b) Any person who (1) knowingly permits a person less than eighteen years of age who has not obtained a certificate pursuant to section 23-26b to operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land, (2) permits a person less than twelve years of age to operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land, or (3) allows a person between twelve and sixteen years of age to operate an all-terrain vehicle on state land without being supervised by a person more than eighteen years of age, shall have committed an infraction.

(P.A. 86-249, S. 7; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: Pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” in Subsec. (a), effective July 1, 2011.

See Secs. 14-387 and 14-388 re violations of rules of operation of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and resulting penalties, generally.

Sec. 23-27. Federal grants. The commissioner is authorized (a) to apply for and receive grants or any other benefits from the United States or any agency or instrumentality thereof for the purpose of improving and developing any state park; (b) to do and to authorize to be done every act and thing necessary to meet the requirements to apply for and receive grants or any other benefits from the United States or any other agency or instrumentality thereof.

(1949 Rev., S. 3462; 1955, S. 1874d; 1971, P.A. 872, S. 190.)

History: 1971 act replaced references to state park and forest commission with references to environmental protection commissioner.

Secs. 23-27a to 23-27k. Registration of private land for recreational purposes. Sections 23-27a to 23-27k, inclusive, are repealed.

(1967, P.A. 623, S. 1–12; 1969, P.A. 786, S. 1–3; 1971, P.A. 249, S. 7; 872, S. 191–193.)

See Secs. 52-557f to 52-557i, inclusive, re landowners’ liabilities for recreational uses of land.