|Vermont State Parks
Director of State Parks
Welcome to our mid-summer issue of Vermont State Parks' newsletter!
There are three words that describe this summer in the parks so far...Hot, Hot, and HOT! Record temperatures and great weather have combined to draw huge numbers of Vermonters and our guests to beaches and campgrounds. Cooling off in a beautiful, clean Vermont lake or river is a must during these afternoons. Finish off the day by listening to the hum of crickets while falling asleep under the stars in the cool of the night in one of our 39 campgrounds. What could be better!?
It's nice to have so many people in the parks to attend the great variety of special programs offered this year. In addition to regular creative programs from our Park Interpreters, we have arranged for lots of other music, story-telling, fun and games for all to enjoy just to make your visit that much more meaningful. Check out our Events page on the website, www.vtstateparks.com/htm/events.htm
, for the latest offerings.
Many of you have told us that visiting a State Park with your friends and family creates powerful and lasting memories. We know that with every visit comes the possibility for wonderful stories to be told and retold often for years to come. That's what we see when we meet you at the parks...we are watching memories being created! So come on outside with us and make some memories! There is a lot of summer left to enjoy!
See you out there!
Director, Vermont State Parks
The Outdoor Observer: What a Cool Moose! By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator
A moose cooling off in the riverAs temperatures rise during the summer months, many people head to rivers, lakes, and ponds to cool off. Perhaps you enjoy splashing 'round and cooling off at one of the many beautiful state park beaches in Vermont. Maybe you like to float around at Brighton State Park, splash around with your friends at Lake Shaftsbury State Park, or take a swim and go kayaking at Waterbury Center State Park. There is nothing as pleasant as submerging yourself into beautiful, clear, refreshing water on a hot summer day.
Humans are not the only animals that submerge in water for relief on these hot summer days. When it's hot, you can find lots of animals feeding and floating in the water. Almost everyone enjoys seeing moose, the largest member of the deer family, and you can often spot these huge animals in wet places during the height of summer heat. Moose, with their large bodies, long legs and dark thick fur are well adapted to the snow and cold weather of winter. They are poorly adapted to summer temperatures; however, when the temperature rises above 80 degrees, moose have a difficult time coping. When it becomes that hot, they do the same thing we like to do when it is hot out, head into the water. In the summer, you will often find moose in wet places, submerging themselves to cool off, to get rid of the pesky flies buzzing around them, and to eat aquatic plants.
Cooling off and having fun
'Moose' is an Algonquin term for "twig eater." These large mammals enjoy eating twigs and buds off trees and shrubs during the winter months, but during the summer, they add aquatic plants to their diet. You can watch them stick their large heads underwater to chomp on the large tuberous roots from lily pad plants.
Right now, bull moose (male moose) are in the middle of growing large antlers. As the antlers grow over the summer, they are covered in a thin skin, called velvet. The velvet is full of blood capillaries that provide nutrients to the growing antlers. When the antlers are fully grown at the end of August/beginning of September, the velvet gets very itchy and the bull moose scrapes them against trees to remove it.
A moose relaxing with her calfMoose not only enjoy being in the water, but they are excellent swimmers too. In May, the females give birth to one or two calves and the calves can swim very well after only a few weeks. Adult moose can swim as fast as 6 miles per hour!
This summer as you enjoy cooling off with a refreshing swim, watch for moose doing the same thing. You are most apt to see these large mammals around sunrise and sunset in marshy areas with lots of aquatic plants available. Look for them in places like Maidstone, Green River Reservoir, Branbury, Half Moon, Kettle Pond, and Ricker Pond State Parks.
A Look at Button Bay State Park with Ranger Jason Hogaboom
The new pool at Button Bay
Jason Hogaboom, the ranger at Button Bay State Park
for the last decade, has seen many changes over his years with the park. Though, none have been quite as dramatic as this year's - the completion of a new pool (with a swirly green slide!), a new playground, two new cabins, and a new park interpreter! All have been highly anticipated and well received. Each improvement has given another reason for people to visit and Button Bay has certainly seen an increase in visitors according to Jason.
The new playground at Button Bay
Once known as Button Muld Bay (for the button-like clay concretions found along the shores), Button Bay has attracted visitors since its opening in 1964. Jason has enjoyed getting to know the regulars that come back to the park each year, some for over thirty-years!
What are some favorites places that keep bringing people back? One is Button Point Natural Area. Visitors can't help but feel relaxed on this small peninsula jetting into Lake Champlain. The Point is breezy and cool with plenty of shade from the mature forest. There are many benches to sit and enjoy the great lake views to the west with the Adirondack Mountains in the distance. The calm water invites paddlers and fisherman, who relish the peaceful lake. Back on shore, the picnic pavilion is a favorite among families and groups who want a get together in a scenic location. Similarly, Button Bay is a popular spot for wedding vow exchanges - the setting is romantic and perfectly picturesque!
Some wonder about the these views, how the natural surroundings came to be, and the rich geological history of Button Bay. Nature or Park Interpreters have been an integral part of helping people learn more about this state park. Button Bay welcomes back experienced park interpreter, Maggie Smith, to host nature programs from the nature center. The nature center, located on Button Point is a short walk from many nature trails which take hikers into the woods as well as along the water. Learn more about this cool part of your Button Bay experience by visiting Maggie and taking part in one of her fun activities!What's nearby:
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Crown Point, Chimney Point, Fort Ticonderoga, Shelburne Museum, Lake Champlain Ferries, and the Morgan Horse Farm in Middlebury.
What's happening in the park:
Alien Invasion, Arts and Crafts, Painting at the Point, Guest Speakers, Hikes, Tye Dye Mania, and more! Visit the Events page
for a full listing.
Born and raised in Northfield, Vermont, Jason Hogaboom credits his grandmother, Delia, for encouraging the outdoorsman in him. She was the one that took him hunting for mushrooms in the wild and fed his love of Vermont's wilderness by leading hikes together. She played a big part in Jason's career choice as a Park Ranger for which those at Button Bay and throughout the park system are grateful.
Thank you Jason!
7/31 Twelve Strings
6:00 PM - Free with paid park admission
Acoustic guitar duo, Mike & Joe, will entertain park visitors with soothing sounds from the 1960s through the 1980s. This concert is easy listening and enjoyable for the whole family.
8/1 Military Appreciation Day
Lake Carmi State Park
A special welcome to all military personnel (active, reserves, and National Guard) to Military Appreciation Day. Show your military ID (current or retired) for FREE day use entry into the park. Your children under 10 years of age will also get in for FREE with you. Crystal's Snack Bar (in the park) is offering 25% off to all military personnel too! Not in the military? Come join us in honoring those men and women who have or are serving our country. Rain date: August 8th
8/4 Walker Brothers Circus
5:30 PM & 7:30 PM - The Circus Midway is free with paid park admission
Walker Brothers Circus will present two performances at Knight Point State Park to help fund raise for The Island Center for Arts and Recreation (ICAR). The Circus promises thrills, chills, laughter, and tons of family fun! And because it is under a CIRCUS TENT, the circus is not weather dependent. Children under 14 are free; Adult tickets are $12 in advance ($14 at the door). Children's tickets can be found at many local stores, libraries, the Children's Center in South Hero, Farmer's markets , the Chamber, and will be available at the ICAR table the night of the shows. All children must have a ticket, and the limit is two children for each paying adult. The chamber number for tickets is 372-8400. Any other questions, please call Joanne at 796-4518.
8/7 Pancake Breakfast!
8:00 AM - 9:30 AM - Free for campers!
Fill up before having a great day in the park! Sandy and Patti (Big Deer's hosts) will have you in stitches as they cook and serve you breakfast - pancakes, bacon, sausage, real maple syrup, and milk! Your day can't start any better than this.
8/21 VINS Raptor Encounter 7:00 PM - Free with paid park admission
Wilgus 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.
A Big Thanks!
Robert Kautz, 2010 Photography Intern
Born and raised in Connecticut, Robert now considers Vermont his home. Robert has been married for nine wonderful years to his beautiful wife, Angela, and together are kept 'on our toes' by their rambunctious seven-year-old son, Michael. Robert proudly attended The Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT which fed his passion for capturing moments using his camera. Of the different types of photography our there today, 35mm film photography is Robert's preference. As for hobbies, Robert's favorites include, listening to a good old LP (long playing) records and writing poetry.
Mark Sweeney, 2010 Photography Intern
Mark was born and raised in Franklin County, Vermont. He has over twelve years with the federal government as a civil service employee and nearly five years in the US Air Force prior to that. Mark travels throughout the US for his job with the federal government which affords him many opportunities to photograph different places and people. In 2008, Mark decided to turn his passion and talent in photography into more than just a hobby and started Exposed Photography - a photographic business dedicated to capturing the precious moments in every day life. Mark focuses on photographing family development including engagement, weddings, maternity, babies, and families. He can be seen this summer working at several of the Northwestern state parks this summer. To view more of his work visit http://exposedwithmark.com. He can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Diving into the refreshing waters of Silver Lake
Diving Into the Parks
The Best State Parks for Swimming this Summer
Whether you prefer wading in a mountain stream or fully submerging yourself in one of the large lakes in the State, Vermont State Parks have a number of options for water-loving visitors. Button Bay, mentioned above, has become the most recent favorite of places to swim due to their new pool, but check out five other favorites below:
With temperatures soaring into the 80s and 90s, why not have some fun while cooling off? This is the best time of year to take advantage of the cool, refreshing waters found in many of Vermont State Parks.
Splashing in Silver Lake
Silver Lake State Park - This busy park encompasses the northern shoreline of 84-acre Silver Lake. The large sandy beach and great swimming conditions make it an ideal place for families. A big playground for kids of all ages and a concession stand where you can buy yummy sandwiches make it a place you can spend all day! The lake is popular for paddling and quieter recreation. Canoe rentals are available. Silver Lake is one of only a few pet friendly day-use beaches.
Jamaica State Park - Another busy park located on a bend of the West River, the combination of deep, slow running water and shallow, fast ripples makes for some fine fishing, but also swimming! A great kid-friendly playground is perfect for drying off after your swim before heading out to do a hike or bike ride. Jamaica has a very easy trail along the river for hiking and biking for all ages.
The cool waters of Jamaica Lake St. Catherine State Park - This large park consists of 117 acres, and first opened as a small picnic and swimming area in 1953. The park itself was once a children's summer camp and farmland. A sandy beach invites sun bathers and swimmers, while an expansive shaded grassy area is perfect for taking a break from the sun and having a picnic. There is a snack bar concession with canoes, kayaks, rowboats and paddleboat rentals too!
Beachgoers at Lake St. Catherine Lake Carmi State Park - With a 1375-acre surface area, Carmi is the fourth largest natural lake entirely within Vermont. It is 7.5 miles around, averaging about 20 feet in depth, and is 33 feet at its deepest point. There are swimming beaches in both camping areas, one of which is pet-friendly. There is also a day use beach with a nature center, rest rooms, and rental boats. Debbie, one of the rangers, is usually hosting an art or nature program - check with staff when you check in to see what the program is for that day!
Bomoseen beachgoers Bomoseen State Park - This park is 3,576-acres and located in the Taconic Mountains on the shores of Lake Bomoseen, the largest lake entirely within Vermont's borders. The beach is popular during hot days with lots of swimmers all there to enjoy Bomoseen's cool waters. A snack bar concession and boat rentals (canoe, kayak, row boat, and paddleboat) are available at the beach. Several hiking trails, including one to Half Moon State Park, provide great hiking opportunities.
Emerald Lake: The Hidden Jewel of Vermont
By Rachel Klatzker, Park Interpreter
A peaceful kayakEmerald Lake State Park
is a beautiful jewel hidden between
the Green Mountains and the Taconic Mountain Range. The park's trails are simple, and the lake is clean and warm offering leisure and recreation for both campers and day users. As Emerald Lake's Park Interpreter this summer, the park and I have lucked out. Emerald Lake is my backyard and my workplace, and I am doing my best to invite visitors to explore the lake a little further.
Fishing from shore at Emerald Lake
The emerald colored lake is small, which means it is usually warm, offering swimming, fishing, and the use of an array of canoes, kayaks, row boats and paddleboats. In the middle of the lake, emerges an Island to be explored, and towards the southside of the lake, you can find an area filled with turtles, frogs, and fragrant white and yellow water lilies. The southern tip of the lake has a cove which leads to a small bridge with the remains of beaver dams. This area is part of the Lake Trail.
The Lake trail partially borders the lake and leads up into the mountain side, giving visitors prime opportunities to view wildflowers in the sunshine and mushrooms and ferns in the shade. This trail connects to each campground and is about 1½ miles long. Half way through the trail, you must make a cross over the train tracks and Route 7 to arrive at the ending mountain vista.
Emerald's picturesque trail
In addition to the Lake Trail, the park offers a self-guided Nature Trail, 13 stops and about a mile of leisurely walking by open fields and brooks. This trail shows a small portion of the park.
As an Interpreter my job is to create nature programs, which usually take place on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and occasionally on Thursdays. I also run the park's nature center where I welcome visitors to stop by and check out birds nests, skulls, "Lava" the salamander, colorful posters, and the very cool Junior Ranger Program. Thanks to the help of visitors, I have started a new vegetable garden which always needs newly painted rocks.
Other weekly programs include, Wildflower Hike, Gentle Yoga on the Beach, Aquarium Exploration (where we take care of "Lava" the salamander), a treasure or scavenger hunt, and an art project on the beach. I try to mix it up every week by adding new programs or programs that have been successful such as: canoeing, "Bonfire, Fireflies and Smore's", sand castle contests, Butterfly Identification, Ghost Stories at the Graveyard, Wild Edibles, Tree Identification, and much more to come.
A view of the lake and its swimmers
My goal as an Interpreter is to get people involved in the park whether that be on their own or by attending programs. Everyday I am taken a back by the beauty and the opportunities the park has given me. I am here and always happy to help visitors experience what I have. I invite all people to come and visit the lake a little further, now that you know some what it has to offer.