Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman said on her way to the 100-year birthday party for the Connecticut State Parks at Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, she said she talked to Nikki O'Neil, wife of late Governor William O'Neil.
"I told her where I was going and she told me that she used to have a dinosaur track in the Governor's Mansion when she was living there," Wyman said. "I told her I knew she did. She asked me how I knew and I told her, it's now in the Lieutenant Governor's office."
Wyman was among the speakers at Dinosaur State Park to celebrate the Connecticut State Parks turning 100-years old and kick-off a year-long celebration.
Featured speakers at the celebration were: Wyman, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel C. Esty, and representatives of the Friends of Connecticut State Parks (FCSP) and the Connecticut Forest and Park Association (CFPA) as well as Rocky Hill Mayor Tim Moriarty.
"Did you realize that there is a state park within 15 minutes of every house in Connecticut," Wyman said. "The vision and foresight of Connecticut’s leaders in the early days of the 20th century led to a state park system that preserves scenic, historic, and environmentally sensitive lands, and provides outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. I challenge all of you to visit two state parks a summer.
Esty, who recently cycled from New Haven to Suffield, is proud of the state of the parks.
“One hundred years ago, a newly formed State Park Commission began acquiring properties that became the successful state park system we have today," he said. "With 107 state parks, visited by eight million visitors a year, Connecticut looks forward to a year-long Centennial Celebration showcasing our beautiful landscapes, waterways, and historic and cultural locations that inspire and amaze everyone who sets foot in our parks.”
He also said when visiting parks or making appearances rain doesn't stop him.
"Rain doesn't play a part for us," Esty added. "Because it's a great day to fish...or to go to a place like Dinosaur State Park.
Esty also acknowledged the great work of local officials and thanked Rocky Hill Mayor Tim Moriarty for his partnership at Dinosaur State Park.
I have lived here in Rocky Hill all my life and I will tell you that when we had the find in 1966 my friends and I rode our bikes and jumped the fence to sneak in and see the prints when we weren't supposed to," Moriarty said. "It is great to have Dinosaur State Park in our town because it brings in tourists from all over the state and country. That helps the hotels and restaurants and all of our economy. I am also a person who thinks it is important to remember where you came from and this park does that."
The Summer Outdoor Journey (Sojourn) is a 169-mile trek biking, hiking, kayaking and walking across Connecticut beginning on August 15 at Quaddick State Park, Thompson and ending on August 25 at Sherwood Island State Park, Westport. Everyone is invited to a closing ceremony that will include a huge park festival with fun and games for the entire family.
Some highlights along the way include paddling at Mansfield Hollow Lake, camping at Gay City State Park, Hebron, Dinosaur State Park Days, Civilian Conservation Corps 80th reunion and Shoreline Greenway Ribbon-Cutting at Hammonasset Beach State Park.