Vermont State Parks
Isn't summer in Vermont wonderful?!
Although it seems to be going by so fast, there is a lot of opportunity for fun and adventure yet to come! The State Parks are booming with activity this season. Despite the slow beginning due to some high water on Lake Champlain, all parks are open and near record numbers of people enjoying the campgrounds, trails, picnic areas and beaches.
Our full staff of park interpreters are busy doing programs and there are still lots of special programs and events on the calendar. Check out our events list for what's coming up so you can plan your visit. And then there's my favorite "Where's Whipple?" contest! Read about this fun little contest in this newsletter, find it on our website, and follow it on our Facebook page. It's fun and easy!
Enjoy the rest of the summer with us at Vermont State Parks!
Vermont State Parks
By Rebecca Phelps, Education Coordinator
|Snuggled in for a good night sleep|
While you are snuggled in your tent, lean-to, cottage or cabin sleeping away after a busy day of outdoor fun, there is a world of activity going on in the forest around you. When the sun sets and we start pulling out the marshmallows and lighting our evening fire, nocturnal animals are just waking up to get their day started.
Think about the last time you were woken in the middle of the night by a strange sound. Did you ever figure out what it was?
|A beautiful barred owl |
Recently, I was camping at Brighton State Park
, and as I settled in for the night, I heard loud bird calls coming from nearby. It sounded like,"who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you-all." You may recognize that call; it is the call of the Barred Owl, our most common woodland owl. Owls are birds that are nocturnal; they are adapted to being active at night.
During the day, owls find hidden places to roost in the large forest tracks they call home. At night, they hunt by sitting on perches in trees, watching and listening for small prey, such as mice and other small mammals, birds, amphibians, or invertebrates. Owls have amazing hearing, and they can detect a small mouse shuffling through the leaves on the forest floor and swoop down quickly to make their kill.
Owls have special feathers that allow them to fly silently. Each feather has a fringe on the edge. This fringe is like a comb and allows the feathers to interlock, sort of like Velcro, when they fly. This cuts down on the wind turbulence on their wings and allows for silent flight. While you are sleeping, these amazing raptors are catching their prey through excellent hearing and swift silent flight.
|Dusk at Lake St. Catherine |
Sometimes you can see Barred Owls because they often become active at dusk - right when things start to dim after the sun sets. You can recognize them by their whitish under parts with brown streaks (the "bars" that give them their name). Barred Owls are large owls with no ear tufts and they have dark brown eyes. Their body is mostly brown.
Even if you don't get the chance to see one, you can definitely hear these common owls during the night in any wooded area with large tracts of forest. They live in many state parks around the state. Listen for them on your next visit to Underhill
, Emerald Lake
, and New Discovery
State Parks (among many others). If you practice the call yourself, you might even be able to call a Barred Owl in close to get a good look.
Featured Park: Elmore
|A view of the outside of Elmore's renovated Beach House |
The "Beach House" is the nickname for a beautifully renovated building at Elmore State Park
with access to the lake that houses the concession area, bathrooms, and meeting rooms. The Division for Historic Preservation and Vermont State Parks collaborated with the Waitsfield firm of William Maclay Architects & Planning
to interpret and preserve the history of the building. Donald Blake Construction
, the general contractor from Morrisville, used Vermont subcontractors and many Vermont sourced materials during construction. Travis Cutler, Vice President and the Construction Project Manager, grew up in Elmore.
First built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Beach House has undergone some changes. It now has a community room that can be rented for meetings and functions and can provide tables and chairs for up to 50 people. At certain times of the year, the entire building can be rented for group functions. There is also a new café seating area and revamped concession stand. Visitors will also be able to enjoy fresh food from the Elmore store and bread from Elmore Mountain Bread
|The beautiful new handmade furniture |
The new tables, stools, and benches were hand crafted in Alburgh from the wood of a large, old white pine tree that needed to be cut down at Big Deer State Park
in Groton, and out of cedar from the Champlain Islands . The couches came from Brattleboro.
Soon, Wifi will be available throughout the building.
For more information, call Elmore State Park at 802-888-2982. Hope to see you there.
Thank You Volunteers!
Sand Bar State Park
hasn't had the easiest start to its season. The park was under a few feet of water for most of May and June, but after the hard work of many volunteers, you'd never know it was such a rough start for this state park. The park is better than ever!
|Volunteers hard at work |
Fifteen volunteers from Rail City Salon in Saint Albans; Nine employees from Allscripts in South Burlington; Seventy Ben and Jerry's employees from South Burlington; Ann and Matt Parsons of Swanton; Carol Daigle of Williston; Lynette Reep and Morgan Shore of Burlington; and a crew of eight women plus a supervisor from the Women's Correctional Facility in St. Albans.
|Painting roughly 350 picnic tables |
These folks lended a helping hand to do some tough jobs. These included painting about 350 picnic tables, raking sand away from the trees (shown in the photo above), and cleaning up debris. The crew at Sand Bar loaded over 50 trucks full of debris from the beaches and fenceline!
For many of the volunteers, the park they helped to clean up was one that they grew up visiting. These folks especially felt it was a great opportunity to give back to a place that had given them so many good memories.
|Sand Bar is back to normal! |
Rob Peterson, the new Regional Manager of this area, also didn't have the easiest start to his job with all the flooding, but he had nothing but positive words to say about the clean up. He commented that in addition to wonderful outreach of support from local businesses, communities, and individuals, one of the most rewarding parts of the clean-up was hearing the appreciation from visitors - thank you cards and personal words of thanks from people who are happy to be able to return to the parks and continue family traditions again.
Lake Champlain State Parks affected by the flooding included Sand Bar
, Burton Island
, Woods Island
, Knight Point
, Alburg Dunes
, North Hero
, Niquette Bay
, and Kill Kare
State Parks. Although opening dates were delayed, all of these parks are back to normal.
Thank you to all the volunteers that have helped get the Lake Champlain parks back to normal! Now, get out and enjoy them!
Events, Events, Events!
8/8 Sand Castle Competition!
Free with paid park entry
Boulder Beach State Park
Come join in the fun! Create your best sand sculpture and win cool prizes. Call the park to register and for more information, 802-584-3823.
8/12 Vermont Honey Makers: Bob the "Bee" Man
Free with paid park entry
Branbury State Park
A fascinating look at the life of a honeybee. There will be a short video followed by a live demonstration of honey being made by real honeybees working close-up in a display hive, and you can try out the beekeeper tools!
8/14 Military Appreciation Day
All Day (Raindate August 21)
Free for past and present military personnel
Lake Carmi State Park
We appreciate our troops! To show our thanks, all current and past military members get in free today. Come show your patriotic thanks too!
We have lots more going on in the parks.
Click here for a full list!
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks.
Kick off your shoes and stay awhile, and save some s'mores for us!
Vermont State Parks
There's a fun new game starting now! It's called "Where's Whipple?." Kind of like "Where's Waldo?,"
except you have to find Director of Vermont State Parks, Craig Whipple, in person.
Here's how it works:
|Do you see Whipple? |
Check out the Vermont State Parks' Facebook Page for clues as to which park "Whipple" is located (you can see all clues by visiting the Where's Whipple page).
Go to that park on the day that Whipple is going to be visiting, find him, take his picture, and be the first person to post it to our facebook page - and you Win! As a winner, you'll get a cool park package, plus braggin' rights.
Check out our instructional video.
Good luck and have a blast playing, Where's Whipple?!
|Denis showing off his chainsaw |
Denis Lincoln, Park Regional Maintenance Supervisor for Vermont State Parks for the past eight years, was born and raised in Ira, Vermont. He kindly gave us some of his time to answer some questions.
"Denis, what other jobs have you held for Vermont State Parks before taking on your current position?"
I've worked my way up, starting as a park attendant, lifeguard, assistant ranger, ranger, maintenance technician, regional coordinator, and finally a regional ranger supervisor.
"Wow, you've done a lot of different jobs. What is your favorite part about your current position?"
Being out in the parks and meeting people.
"How about the least favorite part of your job?"
Long hours in the office. "What is your favorite park and why? Which park would you recommend for swimming, hiking, fishing, and boating?"
I think Emerald Lake
is my favorite just because that's the first park I started in and it's a beautiful park. I think I would recommend Branbury
for an all around best choice - nice beach, beautiful park, great hike to Silver Lake
, and the fishing and boating is excellent. Plus, Betty's snack bar!"If you had to do someone else's job (within Vermont State Parks) for a day, who's job would you do and what would you do?" Button Bay
Naturalist (park interpreter) and I'd do a program on Lake Champlain's Revolutionary war history- cool stuff!"Any other interesting facts about you, advice on parks, or stories from your job that readers might like to know?"
I've been married for twenty-seven years to my wife Liz. We have four kids, two boys and two girls. One is married, one's engaged, two are in college. Also, I have a Christmas tree farm and vineyard to keep me busy in my spare time.
I have thirty-two years of stories to tell with the newest being about a coworker trying to take a skunk home as a pet! Just ask me for more!
Without the hard work of staff like Denis, the parks would not run as efficiently or be as beautiful. Thank you Denis!
Want to work for the parks? Check out our employment
, and volunteer
Another Fun Program: Become a Junior Ranger
The booklet and patch of a Junior Ranger
A Big Thanks!
Vermont State Parks Photography Intern, Linda Everett has been taking pictures for Vermont State Parks for years. She always seems to capture special moments, such as the bottom banner of Grand Isle at dusk. To see more of Linda's work, check out her web album
or watch her slideshow