|Vermont State Parks
Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks
Wow! What a summer we have had in Vermont State Parks
! The weather has certainly cooperated to give us the best opportunity for Vermont summertime fun and adventure we have had in years! And a lot of you sure took advantage of it! Total park attendance is up 14% over last year. Our beaches were really "the places to be" to cool off and play with friends and family. And there have been some significant events this summer. Read on about the archeological dig at Jamaica State Park
. We knew the campground has been a popular place to camp since the 1960's but never knew it had been used for over 6,000 years!
Another big event for us was a celebration at Mt. Philo State Park
to thank Gwen and Charles Allmon from Potomac, Maryland for donating 69-acres of land to the park. That increases the size Mt. Philo by 40% and offers some of the most incredible views in Vermont. Check it out when you get a chance.
With Labor Day weekend come and gone, that means school's back in session and our busy season winds down. But wait! It's not over by a long shot! Some of the best camping of the year is yet to come. About half of our campgrounds remain open and are fully staffed and serviced through Columbus Day weekend. Fewer crowds, fewer bugs, cool nights, beautiful sunny fall days and, of course, Vermont's world class foliage all await the adventurous autumn campers. So, don't put that camping equipment away quite yet! Come on outside!Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks
The Outdoor Observer: Autumn and Beavers
By Rebecca Phelps, Conservation Education Coordinator
A busy beaver finishing his woodwork
Autumn is the perfect time to be outside when the days are sunny, dry, and warm. The nights are cool, there are few bugs, and Vermont State Parks are quiet, peaceful, and the perfect place to relax and observe nature.
When you sit quietly on a sunny autumn day, you can observe all sorts of things. Recently, I went for an evening hike along the shore of Emerald Lake
. The surface of the lake was smooth, like glass, and the sweet smell of dry leaves filled the air. I walked along enjoying the view and thinking about the changes that autumn brings. Suddenly, I saw a large brown body swimming swiftly across the lake towards me. I looked out and saw the unmistakable flat, scaly tail of a beaver!
This beaver carries a new branch to his lodge
I froze in place as the beaver approached the shore, then I watched it climb out of the water and stand about ten feet away from me in the middle of the trail. It started sniffing around some shrubs along the trail when suddenly it stood up on its hind legs and started to sniff deeply in my direction. I felt excited to be so close, and I kept thinking that the beaver must have been able to hear my pounding heart! I didn't move an inch, and soon the beaver slipped back into the lake and swam quickly away.
Although beavers are nocturnal, in the autumn they tend to be more active in the evening. That's why autumn is a great time to spot them as they feed and store food under the surface of the water. If you sit or hike quietly along the shore of any water body near active beavers, you might be able to see one too. Some State Parks have great opportunities for beaver spotting such as, Half Moon
, Ricker Pond
, Kettle Pond
, Little River
, and Silver Lake State Parks
The work of a beaver
Beavers feed on the bark and twigs of trees. Aspens and poplars are their favorites, but they will eat others when those are not available. Beavers are the largest rodent in Vermont, and they have very large front teeth like other rodents. These strong teeth help them chew through tree trunks.
Beavers also use twigs to build their lodges, the large shelters they live in as family units. Another reason you may be able to spot beavers this time of year is that the two-year-old offspring are leaving their home lodges to find new streams or ponds to colonize. You may see beavers wandering into areas that would surprise you as they head off to find new habitat.
Beavers are not the only animals that become more active in autumn. You can have fun observing all sorts of wildlife from migratory birds to porcupines and more. When you sit quietly on a sunny autumn day, you can observe all sorts of things.
Working Together to Combat Invasives
Many pitch in to help remove invasive species in or near Quechee, Mt. Philo, and Button Bay State Parks
Invasives being smothered in Williams Woods near Mt. Philo using a pool liner from Button Bay
Button Bay State Park helped out the Nature Conservancy by donating an old vinyl pool liner for them to use in controlling invasive plant species. It was used to help smother garlic mustard in Williams Woods near Mt. Philo State Park
Another project taking place on July 9, 2010, involved a collaborative effort made up of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps/Quechee State Park
Staff, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS), Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park, the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and interns from the Student Conservation Association. These groups and individuals undertook the task of removing two invasive species from the waters in and around Dewey's Mills Landing. Garlic mustard and Milfoil weed were gathered by the handfuls filling many buckets and bags. Close to 2,000 lbs of invasive plant material was taken away in one day!
An example of how milfoil can take over a lake
On two other occasions, volunteers and staff worked together to clear invasives at Marsh Billings and VINS.
Why remove exotic invasives? These plants out-compete native species, can actually increase erosion along streambanks causing clogging of waterways, and provide less nutritious food and shelter for wildlife.
We deeply appreciate all the extra hands and generosity of all the people and organizations that have contributed their time and energy to making Quechee State Park
and its surrounding areas healthier natural environments.
Which Park is da Bom?
Bomoseen State Park Ranger Jacob Partlow has an Opinion on this Question.
Beautiful Lake Bomoseen is popular with swimmers and boater
With its pristine lake, rich slate history, great hiking, and fun nature programs, Bomoseen State Park
boasts something for everyone.
Made up of over 3,500-acres covering the Taconic Mountains, Bomoseen State Park
features the largest lake entirely within Vermont borders. Water is found throughout the property in a mosaic of remote ponds, wetlands, and large lakes (Lake Bomoseen and Glen Lake). Several open fields and clusters of apple trees line Moscow Road leading a visitor from the Bomoseen main entrance to Glen Lake to Half Moon State Park
An aerial view of the slate quarries on the New York/Vermont border
Historians will relish the slate industry reminders in this area - quarries that provided the West Castleton Railroad and Slate Company with an abundance of slate during the 19th and early 20th centuries that were later given to the State Parks in 1959.
Colorful slate rubble piles sit next to several quarry holes. A 365-acre parcel, donated by Martha Warren (whose step-father owned Lake Shore Slate Company), includes many buildings between Lake Bomoseen and Glen Lake, which are still standing today. The Park Interpreter, Kimmai, leads a slate history tour once a week for those who want to know and see more!
This pavillion surrounded by woods has easy access to the lake and privacy
Social butterflies will greatly enjoy gathering for family reunions or parties at one of a number of picnic areas, shelters, and grills. A large swimming beach, horseshoe pits, and boat rentals are fun activities at Bomoseen for all ages. If you enjoy fishing, Jacob Partlow, the ranger, suggests coming early in the season. The fishing is at its best and it's usually quieter in the park.
Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy getting out on the many trails in the area. Bomoseen offers moderate walks in a self guided slate history trail and a 1.5-mile loop trail. For more experienced hikers, take the Glen Lake trail (4.5-miles) which climbs steep terrain, but has great views. Continue on this trail to Moscow Pond, which connects to Half Moon State Park
. Once at Half Moon hikers can take an easy nature trail connecting campgrounds or do the Daniel Coffey Memorial trail to High Pond.
The staff at Bomoseen are hard-working, but always have time in their day to talk with visitors. When talking to Park Ranger, Jacob, about his favorite parts of Bomoseen, he will tell you how special it is that the many of the park's shorelines, such as Glen Block, are protected from development, keeping the beauty of the park preserved. An interesting fact about Jacob, he gets to live in one of the old slate buildings which also houses the museum at Bomoseen. The museum was closed to the public this year, but is scheduled to reopen next year. Another employee, Jenna, a six-year veteran of Bomoseen, knows and loves her job - ask her anything about the park and she will know the answer!
Kimmai leading a Jr. Ranger program
Kimmai, the nature interpreter, hosts a plethera of programs at Half Moon
and Bomoseen State Parks
. From Stream Seekers to Busy Beaver Canoe and Kayak Tours, Kimmai educates children and adults while having a blast.
Whether you like the more social atmosphere of Bomoseen, or want a little more privacy at Half Moon, you can enjoy both of these parks with a trip to the Fair Haven area.
Reservations for Bomoseen State Park
can be made up to eleven months in advance online
or at 888-409-7579.
9/19 Lt. Mark Dooley Memorial 5K Race
10/2 Haunted Hike
Come join author Tim Simard and Park Interpreter Brian Aust for a preview of Simard's new book, Haunted Hikes of Vermont. Hike the History Trail and hear about the spooky mysteries of locals' pasts! Bring a lunch, a snack, some water, and lots of courage! This event will happen rain or shine, so come prepared for the weather as well.
10/7 VINS Bird on a Glove 7:00 PM - Free with paid park admission
Quechee State Park
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science will present Bird on a Glove. Great for all ages and especially bird lovers! >>See more park events
A Big Thanks!
David Jalbert, 2010 Photography Intern
Born and Raised in Massachusetts, Dave moved to Vermont in 1982 from Dayton Ohio before retiring in 2008 with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dave now lives in Bradford. Vermont where he is a outdoor enthusiast for fishing, hiking, camping, and capturing Vermont's landscapes and wildlife. He can be found in Groton State Forest with a smile and his Nikon coolpix 5400. Jared Lennox, 2010 Photography Intern
Jared is going into his sophomore year at Northeastern University this fall. He has filmed and edited video for the past three years and recently became interested in photography last year. When studying abroad in Greece last fall, Jared volunteered to take photos for an annual international film festival. The photos Jared took were used to help promote the event to students at the college he attended. Jared has enjoyed using his passion for both film and photography to capture the beauty of the Vermont State Parks he explored this summer.
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
Archeologists hard at work uncovering relics Digging up History
Jamaica State Park is Home for an Archeological Dig
Could Jamaica State Park be one of the oldest campgrounds in Vermont? Beneath the park the remains of ancient Native American campsites have been found to date back to over 6,000 years ago!
What started as routine sewer system work, turned into a full blown archaeological dig after test pits turned up ancient artifacts near the Salmon Hole at Jamaica State Park.
Many hands helped to separate and identify artifacts The University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program excavated portions of a Native American campsite and an amazing array of artifacts were uncovered including a mass of flakes from stone tool making, a celt fragment, numerous spear fragments, and a fishing net sinker.
Teaching interested folks about the dig and what was found
These artifacts can be used to determine when people inhabited the area. For example, the majority of the projectile points that were recovered are from around 1,000-1,600 AD. Another projectile point found dates to around 2,000-3,000 years ago. The oldest artifact found was a spear point dating to the early archaic period, approximately 7,500-9,000 years ago!
Uncovering an array of ancient tools presented many questions among the diggers
An interesting mystery found during the dig was what appeared to be a fire hearth surrounded by postmolds. The team is excited to figure out more details about this discovery hoping that by opening up larger, 2 x 2 m, blocks might give them more clues.
Another fascinating discovery was a piece of Native American-made pottery with distinctive decorative patterns on the outer surface suggesting an origin of the Late Woodland period (1,000-1,600 AD).
An ancient arrowhead still intact!While all this has been going on, park visitors have been able to ask questions, watch the progress, and a few even helped to wash artifacts! Learn more and stay up to date on other ongoings in the parks by visiting the Vermont State Park's Blog.
Off of Rt. 100A, drivers see the entrance to Coolidge State Park Gettin' even Cooler
Coolidge State Park Gets a New Nature Center and a Restored Picnic Shelter
Coolidge State Park
is known by its visitors for its incredible views, great hiking, and friendly staff. Set in the rolling mountains of Calvin Coolidge State Forest, this state park is all about beautiful woods and privacy.
People come from miles around to experience the fantastic fall foliage season and to hike to incredible vistas.
Ranger Bill Schreiber is a fan of this park as well. As an experienced veteran with Vermont State Parks
, Bill has been working at Coolidge State Park
since 2000. It was actually his son, who was working as a Park Interpreter, who got Bill and his late wife, Janey, positions at Coolidge. He hasn't left since.
The view from a prime lean-to at Coolidge is always a treat
Seven years ago, Bill and Janey had a vision building a nature center at the park. When Janey passed away in 2005, Coolidge staff helped to keep the fundraising momentum going and by 2009, they had enough money to begin construction on the building.
Using on-site timber, the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) crews hand hewed the logs and helped construct the log cabin.
NCCC and Park Staff building the Nature Center from the ground up
This past winter, the roof was shingled and gradually over the summer, the structure has been sealed and windows added. Bill plans to put in the finishing touches this winter by building display cases for the center. By the time Spring arrives, Bill will be able to have a grand opening for the nature center he and Janey began bringing to life in 2003.
The picnic shelter in the midst of construction
Another improvement going on in Coolidge
is a restored CCC picnic pavilion. The historic character of the building has been preserved as well as a historic viewshed. The breathtaking view was re-established to how it was decades ago. What youngsters are experiencing today is relatively similar to what their grandparents experienced years ago, although today, the picnic shelter has the added benefit of electricity.