|Vermont State Parks
|Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks |
Some people call this "Stick Season", that time of year between foliage season and serious snowfall. Whatever you call it, it's a great time to be outdoors in Vermont!
Cool temperatures make being outside ideal for more active pursuits and with the foliage on the ground, you can more easily see through the trees to notice landscape features that you couldn't see earlier in the year. There's all kinds of interesting things happening in the natural world and wonderful adventures to be had!
So, get out there and enjoy your parks! And remember with the holidays approaching, giving someone a gift of a Vermont outdoor adventure next summer is always appreciated. Think about giving one of our new Holiday Gift Packages, annual passes, merchandise, or gift certificates to your friends and family. If you're lucky, they might even take you along! Everybody wins!!
Happy November to you!
Director, Vermont State Parks
The Outdoor Observer: Getting Ready for Winter
By Rebecca Phelps, Conservation Education Coordinator
|The beautiful colors of a brook trout (courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife) |
Here we are at November. This is the time of year in Vermont when we look out the window and see the leaves have faded from yellow to golden to bronze and then dropped off completely. It is dark when we head into work and dark when we head home. Many creatures are getting ready to hibernate, but some are just warming up for the fun activities of fall and winter.
Some are gearing up for the approaching icefishing season, but I, similar to those hibernating animals, am done until the warm weather returns. As I organize and pack away all my fishing gear, I think about my favorite summer memory, pulling brook trout out of the gorge in Quechee State Park
. There is nothing more exciting than coaxing your fly into a deep pool under a rock in a swift stream and watching as a small trout strikes.
|A freshly caught brook trout|
These bright, beautiful and lively fish are the only native stream dwelling trout in Vermont. Brook trout survive in only the cleanest, clearest water, and they usually hide under rocks, logs and undercut banks. They have a long, streamlined body that is greenish with red spots with bluish halos, gold wormlike markings, and a square tail. Interestingly, brook trout's reddish silver belly turns a more vivid red-orange during spawning season, particularly in the males. This makes it easier to spot them!
|A baby brook trout (courtesy of Vermont Fish & Wildlife) |
It is easy to assume that everything in nature is slowing down and getting ready for the colder months, but there is still lots of activity in the forests and fields of Vermont. Right now, in Quechee State Park
, brook trout are swimming into shallow, clean areas of the Ottauquechee River. The females are digging nests, called a redd, four to twelve inches deep in the bottom of the clear, gravel streambed. The redd can be one to two feet in diameter. The fish will then churn up the water as they release eggs and milt. After the eggs are laid and fertilized, the female covers them with a bit of gravel. In two to three months the young fry will hatch, but brook trout do not reach maturity until they are at least two years old.
|Rebecca shows off her prized brook trout catch |
Brook trout make a great sport fish because they are fun to catch, and they live even in the tiniest tributaries you can find in the Vermont hills. Next year, when trout season opens again, you can try and catch them yourself at Brighton
, Seyon Lodge
, and Quechee State Parks
. Even better, head on in and visit those places today, and you might be able to catch a peek at spawning brook trout.
Bridges, Bog Walks, Boardwalks, and Trails!
The State Trail Crew Helps Preserve Vermont State Park's Natural Resources Through Experienced Trail Design and Construction
Jessica Ricketson, Trails Coordinator for the Dept. of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, the State Trails Crew, and partnering organizations, such as Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) and the Green Mt. Club, have worked diligently to improve Vermont State Parks' trails, one project at a time. Their combined labors included cleaning waterbars, removing blowdowns, completing trail repairs & reconstruction, installing or reconstructing erosion control measures, repairing trailside & trailhead structures and amenities, assisting with set-up and marking trails, restoring trail sections, improving surface & trail tread, installing log puncheons and rock stair cases, and completing bridge & rock retaining wall projects. Still out on the trails for a couple more weeks, the state teams have worked on over twenty-six projects this year. Three projects in particular have been highlighted below.
|Jess Ricketson and Andy Orowitz take a break from work at Mt. Philo with trail dog, Kipa |
|The trail prior to improvements|
Burton Island's Southern Tip Trail
|The finished product, ready for use |
is a beautiful way to access one of VSP's best views of Lake Champlain. However, it was in a low, wet area and in need of a boardwalk. VYCC's Female Leadership Development Crew came to the rescue. Employing carpentry and construction skills, the all-female team made the boardwalk large and strong enough for riding lawnmowers to use.
|A bog walk, better for both walkers and the bog |
was fortunate to have a Bog Walk/Nature Trail
make-over. The State Trails Crew and VYCC Female Leadership Development Crew joined forces to alleviate the bog from further damage due to its popularity. The newly installed puncheons are a low-impact construction technique that were installed in only two days!
|Some of the volunteers on the Muhley Trail |
benefitted from the generosity of volunteers to keep its trails in tip-top shape. In just one day, a group of volunteers under the guidance of Jess hauled lumber up the steep terrain to fix broken boards on the Muhley Trail
and employed vertical mulching, a technique that prevents visitors from going off the trail creating short-cuts and damage. To boot, the team also removed two huge docks that had floated on to the beach!
Crews, Volunteers, Supporting Organizations, and the Trails Coordinator, Jess, for making Vermont State Park trails
Around Lake Dunmore, Branbury State Park Spiffs up Their Cottage and Welcomes Dogs
|Branbury at the beginning of foliage season |
This park has it all - views, trails, a sensational cottage, a beautiful lake, and now, your dogs can enjoy the park too!
At the base of Mount Moosalamoo, Branbury State Park offers visitors a number of outdoor experiences. During the season, popular activities include renting paddleboats, swimming, camping in a lean-to, participating in a triathlon, or having a reunion in one of the pavilions. Off-season, visitors continue to enjoy hiking to the Falls of Lana, walking the shores of Lake Dunmore, birdwatching, and off-season camping.
|An inside peek of the cozy cottage|
When camping, visitors have the option of two different experiences, lakeside sites or more private woods sites across the road from the park's main entrance. The more popular sites border a babbling brook or rocky outcrops. Dogs have always been allowed on Branbury campsites across Rt. 53, but a new change to the park rules starting next season is, dogs will be permitted on sites 1-16 and in day use areas. For off season camping, dogs are also permitted, but any person or party interested in off season camping will need to fill out a request form. For more information, please visit the park's off season webpage.
|A picture perfect dusk over Lake Dunmore at Branbury |
Another change in Branbury, was a makeover to the Moosalamoo cottage. Antiques from Barn Antiques of Middlebury decorate the interior and add to the homey feel. If interested in this luxurious way to visit the parks, be sure to make your reservations soon as dates are already filling up for next year.
Whether you want to enjoy a hike to the falls or take part in the tranquility of off season camping, we hope that you will visit Branbury State Park and see for yourself all the wonderful things it has to offer!
Photographs Color the Walls of Montpelier Cafe
Olympia Bowker, a 2009 Photography Intern, is being featured at La Brioche
in Montpelier until mid-December.
Olympia completed an internship with Vermont State Parks as part of her Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Science at the University of Vermont. Her work on "sense of place" and how photography can capture the beauty we all see and interpret, can be found in her photographic documentation project entitled, Vermont in Winter: The Season of Subtle Splendor
. It is Olympia's hope that her images and captions illustrate "sense of place" as well as help to promote recreational enjoyment of the outdoors for Vermont State Parks
Through her work, Olympia explains that by having a relationship to the land and a high regard for its value, one can connect to the natural environment. Many benefits come from this connection. Among them are:
- Improved mental health
- Improved physical health
- An increase in environmental stewardship
While completing her photography internship with Vermont State Parks
, Olympia visited six of the fifty-two state parks in Vermont. When finished, a photographic display of fourteen images, illustrating place and people connecting with it, was exhibited in both the Vermont State House in Montpelier and the Environmental Building (the Bittersweet) at the University of Vermont. See more of Olympia's work here
|Olympia's photos on display |
Stop in to enjoy her work as well as fresh pastries and hot coffee!
For more information on Vermont State Parks Photography Interns, visit this webpage
A Big Thanks!
Krista Cheney, 2010 Photography Intern
Krista shot some great photos at Jamaica State Park
, such as the top banner of a leaf surrounded mushroom.
A native Vermonter, Krista currently lives in St. George, Vermont. She studied English Literature and Agricultural Economics at the University of Vermont, and has studied photography since 2003, taking classes and workshops at local venues and the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine. Krista has exhibited at several galleries and art shows in Vermont, and in Spring 2010, Krista's Frozen Still Life work was juried into Art On Main, an artist-cooperative gallery in Bristol, Vermont. Krista and her dog, Weasel Bean, are frequent visitors to Vermont's State Parks for hiking, camping, and paddling. They make an annual pilgrimage to their favorite park, Jamaica State Park
, every summer.
For more of Krista's work, visit her web album
Patrick Henry, 2010 Photography Intern
Patrick captured the sunset over Ball Island shot from Burton Island State Park
As a freelance photographer for the Charlotte (NC) Observer for over eight years, Patrick covered a wide variety of events from professional sports (Carolina Panthers football & Charlotte Hornets basketball) to cow plop contests in small town South Carolina. He has photographed over a hundred weddings, special events, and local activities. Patrick loves photography and looks forward to exploring and documenting more of our beautiful Vermont State Parks
For more of Patrick's work, visit his web album
What a Great Park Season!
It's hard to believe that the park season is already over. Great weather and a multitude of park improvements contributed to bringing more visitors to Vermont State Parks this year more than any other year since 1995! Attendance counts were up 15% from last year alone. A grand total of 836,984 visitors enjoyed Vermont State Park's beaches, mountains, campgrounds, and trails in 2010!
|A peaceful paddle in Elmore State Park |
Thank you for visiting the parks and as always, we appreciate your feedback. We are already looking forward to making next season even better!
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
Need a Gift?
New this year:
Try a Holiday Gift Package!
|Weekend Getaway Package |
Choose from three fun packages and give an adventure for a present! Below are what's in each one:
Day Tripper - Includes a punch card (10 visits to any park), a Vermont State Parks water bottle and a one-hour boat rental See video
Weekend Getaway - Includes two nights of RV or lean-to camping, two Vermont State Park travel mugs, and a bundle of firewood
Full Season of Family Fun - Includes a season vehicle pass, two Vermont State Park water bottles, two ball caps, and two-hours of boat rentals
Holiday gift package orders have FREE shipping and all are available for order online anytime, or by calling 1-888-409-7579 Mon - Fri 9 am - 4 pm.
|Decorate hats, clothes, or packs with VSP pins |We also offer gift certificates in any denomination that can be used for camping reservations in the parks, merchandise, or park passes.
Vermont State Parks offers a great selection of passes and products just in time for the holiday season.
Hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and water bottles are some of the traditional favorites. We've added new designs for some of the clothing and also bumper stickers, pins, and patches for those that enjoy showing off their support of Vermont State Parks.
|These passes get your vehicle into day use parks all season |
All of these are available for purchase through the Vermont State Park's Reservation Center by calling 888-409-7579, Monday - Friday from 9 am - 4 pm or online
|Foliage at Boulder Beach brightens a cloudy day|
It's the Off Season, But There's Still Fun in the Parks
Even though the parks are closed until spring, visitors can park outside the gate, and hike, picnic, bike, and more in any Vermont State Park. Quieter parks, different views (without the foliage), and no day use fees are some of the advantages of the off season. Without the usual summer visitors, it's a nice time of year to capture photographs of some of the quieter moments in the state parks.
|Photographing the fall scenes of Elmore |
Some other things to keep in mind when visiting:
- Restrooms are closed and water is shut off
- No trash facilities - Carry in/Carry out all trash
- No rangers or staff are present
- Hunting is permitted on state lands - wear bright colors when hiking
- Off season camping requires a request form
- Cell phone signals are sparse or absent in many parks
- Parking is limited to outside of the park. For a listing of parking during the off season, click here
Cooking up Points for Venture Vermont with a Campfire Recipe
|The Molineaux Family successfully cooked in the parks |Thank you to the over 350 Venture Vermont 2010 Participants! It was impressive to have a plethora of different adventures and accomplishments completed in the parks. One of particular interest was "Create your own outside food recipe (one you enjoy cooking and eating outside)" for 10 points.
You can try these in your own backyard this Fall and practice cooking over a campfire so you'll be a pro by next camping season!
Below are some of the yummy entries.
Shannon Family Apple Seared Venison
- 3 thinly sliced venison strips for each person
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 green pepper
- 10 mushrooms
- 1/2 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 apple
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 roll per person
- a few slices of Cabot cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Dice the onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Cube the apple. Pour oil into a medium pan over the campfire and sautee the veggies and apple. Add garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender (about 7 min.)then remove from pan and divide onto each roll. Put a few more logs on the fire to get it really hot and sear the venison for about 15 seconds on each side. Put the meat on the veggies and apple on your roll top with cheese and EAT!
|Kababs make for easy clean-up while camping |
The Mulder Family submitted a beet recipe and recommends going a step further (and getting points for "growing a garden") by growing your own beets!
Mulder Beet Packs
Separate 1-3 beets for each person. Wash the beets and pour 1 Tbsp of VT Maple syrup over each beet. Wrap 1-3 beets in tin foil, so each person has a Beet Pack. Roast each pack in the campfire for 1 hour. Unwrap and savor!If you have a favorite camping recipe, send it to us to share!