The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says there was a record number of people who participated in First Day Hikes. Nearly 2,000 people participated in guided hikes at 10 parks. 175 people showed up at Kettletown State Park in Southbury, where people attended the guided hike featuring damage from the May macroburst. Spokesman Chris Colibee says there were a number of factors that led to the increase including warmer temperatures than in past years, more parks offering hikes and the new Passport to Parks program. The initiative went into effect in 2018, allowing any Connecticut car to enter a state park for free.