Vote YES to protect your favorite places

Vote YES to protect your favorite places

Hammonasset State Park

Picture building sandcastles at Hammonasset State Beach with your family, or hiking with friends along the ridge of Sleeping Giant State Park, or simply enjoying a romantic picnic at Harkness Memorial Park.

Now, picture what it would look like if they were all sold or given away to a private developer for condos and strip-malls…

Don’t think it could happen? It has happened and could again. But YOU have the chance this November to protect all the places that make Connecticut beautiful.

The Problem

Many people don’t realize Connecticut legislators can swap, sell, or give away your state parks, wildlife management areas, and open spaces with NO public input. They can dispose of these properties even if someone donated the land and wrote in the deed that it should always be open space. Yes, you read that right. The state legislature can vote to dispose of any public park at any time and they don’t even have to talk to you about it.

How can you stop this bad policy of backroom deals?

The Solution

Talcott Mountain State Park

After many years, the state legislature passed a bill this spring that puts a constitutional amendment on the ballot that will protect the most important parks, forests, and open spaces of Connecticut. (Our neighbors like Massachusetts and New York already have these protections.)

This amendment will be question #2 on the ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6.

This is what it says.

“Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to require (1) a public hearing and the enactment of legislation limited in subject matter to the transfer, sale or disposition of state-owned or state-controlled real property or interests in real property in order for the General Assembly to require a state agency to sell, transfer or dispose of any real property or interest in real property that is under the custody or control of the agency, and (2) if such property is under the custody or control of the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, that such enactment of legislation be passed by a two-thirds vote of the total membership of each house of the General Assembly?”

This is what it means.

Gillette Castle State Park

If the question passes, before they can sell, trade, or give away public lands the legislature must:

  1. Hold a public hearing; and
  2. Vote by a two-thirds majority on disposition of public lands held by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (i.e., state parks, forests, wildlife management areas) or the Department of Agriculture (for example, state-owned agricultural lands or easements).

This constitutional change does not mean the state can’t ever sell public land. It just means they can’t sell it without you knowing about it first.

Without this added protection, the Connecticut legislature is free to continue giving away your public lands without your input.

What YOU can do

  1. Vote YES on November 6. It’s easy to remember with this little poem:

Public lands are owned by you,
Just vote yes on question 2.

  1. Sign up here to stay informed about this important vote. We’ll let you know of any developments and other ways you can help prior to November 6.
  2. Share this link or the ProtectCTPublicLands.org site with everyone you know. Polls show 4 out of 5 people support the amendment once they know about it—but too many people don’t know the vote is happening!
  3. Submit a letter to the editor at your local paper or online media, here are some sample letters and bullet points.

You grew up swimming, birding, hiking, camping, and picnicking in our beautiful state parks. You can help ensure that future generations can enjoy our beautiful parks too.

Let’s do this.

On November 6: Public lands are owned by you, just vote yes on question 2.

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