May 2009  
Vermont State Parks
parks directorGreetings from the parks!
It's spring! Although Vermont's State Parks are always "open", the summer season is the time for camping vacations, and for relaxing and playing at beaches and picnic areas and for hiking our wonderful trails. For the last several months, we have been busily preparing for your visits! Our maintenance staff and contractors have been renovating some of the park facilities and our top-of-the-line Rangers and their staff are moving in and readying the grounds and buildings to make sure they are up to our standards when you arrive. It's a fun, high energy, exciting time for us! We'll be ready and happy to see you when you join us this summer! 
Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks
The Outdoor Observer:
By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator
crocusWhat is happening in the forests and fields of Vermont while we rake away the leaves and other debris of winter off our lawns and out of our gardens?  We have already seen crocuses pop their violet, white and yellow tops out of the soil where we thought we would never see life again.  Even the hardy daffodils have emerged from a spot where there was nothing but dried, brown grass and piles of old leaves.  Spring is appearing all across the Vermont landscape, and it is the most exciting time for outdoor observing. 
While your garden flowers are starting to poke their heads out of the cold ground, the same thing is happening in the forests of Vermont.  Do you remember walking along the river in Jamaica State Park or hiking up to the fire tower in Elmore State Park last summer?  You probably enjoyed a nice shady hike under a canopy of green trees.  When you head out the door today, instead of shady leaves, all you will see above your head are tree buds swelling up nice and big-with every tree getting ready to bust out with new spring leaves and flowers.  

trout lilyConditions are perfect for forest wildflowers because it is
the only time of year when sunlight reaches the forest floor and temperatures are nice and mild.  Early spring wildflowers are taking the opportunity to have their moment in the sun.  These jewels of the early spring forest are everywhere, and you will see them if you know where and what to look for.
When you walk through the spring forest, look down along the forest floor for the yellow drooping lily flowers of the trout lily.  The green leaves, speckled with brown like trout, carpet the forest floor this time of year in Coolidge State Park. 
blood rootOne of the greatest treats in looking for wildflowers is to find a native poppy plant.  What can this possibly be?  The blood root flower, a small white flower with a yellow center (kind of like a big, low to the ground daisy), with a unique curled leaf can be found in moist forest edges.  Look for these below a row of sugar maple trees next to a road.  If you are having trouble finding these, try Branbury State Park - they have been spotted there.  
spring beautiesWatch the ground in front of your feet to keep an eye out for the tiny spring beauties.  These flowers are pink with lines of darker pink and seem to pop right out of rocks before your eyes.  You can see them in moist soils and along trails and roads in Underhill State Park.
Look carefully for the rare native orchid, the pink lady slipper, under oak and pine trees in moist woods.  Lady slippers are a treat to find-look for the two large green leaves on either side of the stem, and the pouched pink orchid flower hanging in the center.  These have been spotted in Brighton State Park.     
trilliumWatch for the deep burgundy petals of the red trillium in the rich soils in Gifford Woods State Park.  Later in the summer, this three leaved plant will have a red berry-like fruit where red flowers can be found today. 
Conditions are perfect in the forests of Vermont for these beautiful wildflowers.  Take a closer look at the woods near your own home, and then watch for these flowers in State Parks during your next visit.   Look carefully and you will find these beautiful and temporary signs of spring. 

Spring's Secret: 
The "Other Foliage Season" 
by Maria Mayer, Parks Regional Manager, Southwest Region

Pssst....don't spread it around but there are actually TWO foliage seasons in Vermont.  That's right, TWO.   Most people think we're still knee deep in mud now, pulling our vehicles out of quicksand dirt roads with tractors, horses, mules, anything we can find with traction in the goop. Sure there's a road here or there that gets posted (and, of course, the occasional truck that doesn't abide by the sign and proceeds to get stuck up to its wheels), to keep the whole story going.  But it's really not widespread - besides, that's mostly in April.

tree budsIt's a plot to keep the other secret foliage season all to ourselves. 
So where's the color?  It's in the trees of course.   This time of year gentle spring rains spur a burst of growth, all the buds seem to swell at once.   As I'm walking around the parks I suddenly notice the delicate colors and textures emerging.  What was once just tree limbs and branches ('Stick Season' as my friend Nick calls it) are now dotted with rich deep reds (Red Maple), red-heading-toward-purple, chartreuse greens,  browns, soft fuzzy tufts of grey (Aspen) and light yellow (Pussy Willow).  The ends of the willows and dogwood are spiced with red (Red-osier), orange or light yellow. The effect is made even better with branches dampened and darkened by rain, a beautiful contrast.  Subtle but beautiful.
pussy willowCome see the secret.
PS.  Watch for the Shad tree's white blooms because, as many in these parts know, that's when to grab your rod and creel and come see us for some great trout fishing.
ascutney car race5/16-5/17 Annual Spring Car Race
Mt. Ascutney State Park
This 2-day event takes place on Saturday & Sunday at the beautiful Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT. The course is the 3.2 mile paved access road to the summit of Mt. Ascutney. For more information visit

becoming an outdoor family5/29-6/1 Becoming An Outdoor Family Weekend Groton State Forest Parks
Come join us From May 30 through June 1 for our 11th year offering outdoor educational experiences for the whole family. This program is a joint effort by the University of Vermont Extension and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Departments of Fish & Wildlife, and Forests, Parks & Recreation to promote, address, and instill in the general public a basic understanding of environmental conservation, safety and fun in the out of doors. Expert instructors begin each class with the basics, providing hands-on experience and encouraging participants to ask questions. The variety of classes includes wildlife, forestry, orienteering skills, hiking, wildlife photography, fitness, camping, kayaking, canoeing, firearm safety, fishing, and much, much more.
trail6/5 National Trails Day Event
9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
For Vermont students in grades 4-8.  Pack your lunch and outdoor clothing and join us for a fun filled day of interactive, hands-on activities that celebrates how much we love our trails.  If you are interested in attending, please contact by Wednesday, May 20th.  Workshops will fill up fast, so please register early if you would like to attend.  Questions?  Please call Rebecca: (802) 241-3651

niquette bay6/6 Niquette Bay Trails Day
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
A fun day of trail maintenance and hiking. Family (and leashed dog) friendly, with lunch provided. Participants should plan to be outside the entire time - wear sturdy boots, bring gloves, water bottles, sunscreen, bug repellent and your smiling face! Let's get the trails ready for summer!

vermont days6/13-6/14 Vermont Days!
All Parks Statewide
Free day use entry into all Vermont State Parks; Free fishing statewide on Saturday; various events statewide.  6/14 Green Mountain Brass Band from 2:00 -4:00 PM at Waterbury Center State Park. The Green Mountain Brass Band is a traditional band of over 20 brass and percussion musicians who play a variety of traditional and contemporary music, classics, show tunes, pop, jazz and rock and of course, marches. For more info

balloons6/19-6/21 Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival Entertainment includes a Balloon Glow on Friday Evening approximately 9:00 p.m., continuous bands, comedy acts and dance routines all weekend. (please see the Schedule Of Events as it becomes available). There is also a Kids Zone, train rides, and an Honor students activity tent (add'l fee required). The Green Mt. Volleyball Tournament is taking place again this year with round robin matches. Read more>>

vins program6/20 VINS Raptor Encounter
7:00 PM
Lake St. Catherine State Park 
This first-hand encounter with live falcons, hawks, and owls focuses on the natural history, ecology, and adaptations of these efficient predators. Touchable artifacts and hands-on materials round out this special experience.

bird6/20 Bird Walk with Sue Wetmore
8:00 AM
Branbury State Park
Join Sue for a morning to find the breeding birds of the Branbury area. Warblers, thrushes and vireos are some of the possibilities and perhaps a view of the peregrine falcons nesting on Rattlesnake Pt.

safe boating6/23-25 Vermont Safe Boating Course
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Ages 12 - Adult.  Successful completion of this course is a pre-requisite to operating a motor boat in the state of Vermont for anyone born after January 1, 1974.  Participants must attend all three days and successfully complete the safe boating exam at the conclusion of the course to obtain their certificate.  Sponsored by US Coast Guard & Vermont State Parks.  Park admission fees will be waived for course attendees. For more info call 802-524-6021 after May 22.
bird6/27 Bird Walk with Sue Wetmore
8:00 AM
Join Sue for a morning to find the breeding birds of the Branbury area. Warblers, thrushes and vireos are some of the possibilities and perhaps a view of the peregrine falcons nesting on Rattlesnake Pt.
allison kremer6/27 Allison Kremer Concert
6:00 PM 
Townshend State Park
Allison Kremer presents "A Tribute To The War Years". Take a sentimental journey down memory lane in a fun-filled hour of popular songs from WW 1 and WW 2, including such favorites as "This Is The Army, Mr. Jones", "White Cliffs Of Dover", "Harbour Lights", "Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree", "Roll Out The Barrel" and many more!

vins6/27 VINS Raptor Encounter This first-hand encounter with live falcons, hawks, and owls focuses on the natural history, ecology, and adaptations of these efficient predators. Touchable artifacts and hands-on materials round out this special experience. 

stan and gloriaStan and Gloria Mc Lean of Ontario are long time Little River campers.  They took the great banner photo of the flowers and the Worcester Mountain range on one of their trips to Little River.
 julie acker
Julie Acker is a State Park Photography Intern and a fifth-generation Vermonter, born and raised in southern Vermont.  She attended Castleton State College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Science, majoring in Biology with a Chemistry minor.  Her love of the Vermont outdoors was instilled in her by by her "Grammir", who was an avid outdoorswoman and often took her grandchildren hunting and fishing.  She currently lives in Thetford with her
husband and two children.  She captured the shot below of the boys on the dock at
Stillwater State Park.
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks
Kick your shoes off and stay awhile - and save some s'mores for us!
Vermont State Parks
mud season hikes 
The Parks Through the Seasons:  Spring
Great Mud Season Hiking Options
Please help protect state lands and trails by avoiding muddy trails!  You may not know it, but trails and vegetation are super vulnerable during mud season and hiking on them during this time can cause irreversible damage by compacting soils and surrounding vegetation which accelerates erosion and the need for maintenance.  High elevation trails are especially vulnerable during this time and take considerably longer to dry than lower elevation trails, so the state closes high elevation trails from April 15 - Memorial Day Weekend. 
But, there are still lots of great hiking opportunities!  If you're looking to get out and go hiking in the early spring, these trails make for some great options.  
Also, check out more info from the Green Mountain Club
park office 
What's New
The Economy and its Effect on Vermont State Parks
The current economic climate has affected almost everyone and Vermont State Parks is no exception. In times of stress and anxiety, we all need the restoring and rejuvenating value of parks and open space even more! That is why we have worked so hard to keep the park system open and available despite considerable financial pressures. We have been reasonably successful, so far. Many other states have not been as fortunate.
State tax revenues have fallen sharply and the park system has had to bear its share of the reduction from that source. To compensate, we have had to make cuts to some services and are proposing to raise some fees. We have attempted to be very modest in both. Our nature interpretive programs have been scaled back and there have been other staff reductions at several parks. Camping has been eliminated at Thetford Hill, Allis and North Hero although they will all be available for day use. Hopefully other cuts we have been forced to make will not result in any noticeable effect on the quality of our service to you. We have not lowered our standards.
The proposed fee increases can be found here. If approved through the Administrative Rules process, they would be in effect by June 1. 
venture vermont 
Take the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge and win free park entry for this year and all of next year!
You and your family can spend the season outside and earn points for visiting beautiful places and doing fun things!
Points are awarded for doing activities like riding bikes, climbing trees, having a tent set up race or learning how to tie a new knot.  You don't have to do these activities in a state park - they can be done anywhere!
If you earn 250 points you will be awarded a Silver VIP Pass to Vermont State Parks. With it you can come back to Vermont State Parks for the rest of this year and all of next year for free day entry!
All you need to do is
download a score sheet, keep track of all your points, document your activities by taking photos and send them back!
Each score sheet and pass is for one individual, but families can do activities together and record points on their individual score sheets and each earn a pass.
To learn more or to download a score sheet and get started,
click here...
vermont days 
Enjoy the parks
June 13 & 14
Pack up the kids, bring the picnic basket, fishing poles or maybe just a good book and come enjoy the parks for a free weekend!  All state park day areas and historic sites will be open for free, Saturday June 13 is free fishing day, where you can fish anywhere in the state without a fishing license, and several state forests will be offering a letterboxing activitiy.  For more info go to www.vermontdays.vermontgov. 
park ranger 
Parks new Blog
New this summer  - check out our blog.  We hope it will be a fun place where we can swap stories and  share some of the more interesting park happenings.  We'd love to get your posts, too!  Do you have a favorite hike or paddle?  Want to share a particularly rewarding or funny story?  Send your article with pics to  Stop by often, leave a comment or two.  We'll be updating it regularly and posting weekly bonus activities for Venture Vermont!
check out the parks 
Check out the
New this summer!  In cooperation with the Vermont Department of Libraries, we are happy to announce a new program we're calling Check out the Parks.  All libraries in Vermont will have a park pass that can be checked out and used to visit the parks.  The pass will allow up to eight people in one vehicle into any Vermont State Park Day Use Area for the day.  Each library will determine how long the passes can be checked out and some of the larger libraries will have multiple passes.
seyon trout 
Spring Angler's Specials at Seyon Lodge 
The ice is finally out on Noyes Pond at Seyon Lodge State Park! Help us celebrate by taking advantage of a special opportunity to experience the unique beauty of Seyon and to enjoy some great Spring fly fishing. The Spring Angler's Package comes complete with a stay at our historic lodge, some of the tastiest meals you'll ever eat, and a chance to lure a colorful Brook Trout on Noyes Pond.
Seyon's Spring Angler's Package includes a two-night stay in our lodge, all meals, a full-day boat rental for fishing, and all taxes.This all-inclusive package is available Mondays through Thursdays from April 20 to June 18, 2009, for only $65 per person per night (double occupancy). If you're traveling with a friend but prefer to bunk alone (single occupancy), you can take advantage of our Spring Angler's Package for $85 per person per night.
Seyon is also offering its popular Frequent Flyer Season Fishing Pass. This pass is a great deal for anglers who frequent Seyon, and includes unlimited fly fishing and boat rentals for the 2009 season. In addition, this pass can be used for your day use fees at all Vermont State Parks throughout the 2009 Summer season. Pay last year's price for this year's pass until June 1. After that, the price goes from $89 to $95, so hurry! 
For reservation and more information, call us at (802) 584-3829. 
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see you out there