December 2012
Vermont State Parks Newsletter

Greetings everyone!


Vermont State Parks are closed in the off season and only open in the summertime? WRONG! Just take a peek at this edition of our early winter newsletter to get an idea of how open and available our state parks are! From Rebecca's

wonderful article about deer hunting to ice climbing, winter camping and of course all kinds of day activities like skiing, snowshoeing and sledding. Getting outdoors for winter fun takes a little more effort and preparation but it is certainly worth it! 

Vermont is truly special in the wintertime and state parks are good places to witness it first hand. So, enjoy this chilly newsletter then get outside for some early winter fresh air and adventure!

See you out there! 


Craig Whipple

Director, Vermont State Parks
Outdoor Observer
By Rebecca Phelps, Conservation Education Coordinator
Rebecca with her deer. 

When was the last time you sat on a state park beach, watching the sun move across the sky?  Did you sit there silently contemplating the beautiful silhouette of tall pine trees in the sun, set against the blue sky?  Did you watch the rays reach the rolling waves on the sand in front of you?  Recently I have been watching the sun move slowly across the landscape.  I have been sitting motionless in the woods, waiting eagerly for the sun to touch me.  This is a really, really long wait some mornings when the sunlight is slowly inching along, then suddenly it touches the white pine next to me.  Then, wham, I have sunlight on my shoulders, warming me.  This is deer season in Vermont.


Recently I participated in a meeting with my peers from other New England states.  One of my contemporaries from New Hampshire took the floor and complained about deer hunters.  This happens to me often because people have no idea that I am a deer hunter when they look at me.  People are usually very surprised when they find this out about me, one of my colleagues told me that I taught him a valuable lesson in judging people.  My peer from New Hampshire and lots of other people have misunderstandings about what deer hunting is all about.     


On average, deer hunters in Vermont are successful about one every six years.  There must be something else about this experience if you have the opportunity to fill your freezer with local protein only every six years.  The meat is wonderful; it will feed your family.  Trophies to hang on the wall are a nice decorative touch, and photos of you and your deer look fantastic in your cubicle (I know this from experience). However, for every deer hunter the experience is about much more than these things.  This is what it is about: personal connections to nature.   


If you have never sat motionless in the woods for hours, I recommend it.  You will not believe the amazing things you will see.  You will be able to watch every moment of brilliant sunrises and sunsets.  I have seen a flock of turkeys walk so close to me, I could extend my arm and grab one (but I didn't because it was not turkey season).  Flying squirrels will soar over your head.  You can watch them climb trees and then glide away.  Red squirrels will scurry around; you can watch them without them chattering at you because they do not know you are there.  You become part of the landscape, part of the forest, an observer watching everything around you.


You see lots and lots of birds when deer hunting.  And I am not talking about bird watching, where you skulk around with your high powered binoculars.  All the birds will come very close to you.  Some of them are curious, like the flocks of chickadees that descend around you to see what the heck you are; and some just want to eat the seeds and insects close to you like flocks of tiny kinglets.  You will see the natural behavior of blue jays, nuthatches, juncos, pileated woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, and brown creepers.  One morning in the twilight, I watched a ruffed grouse flip leaves looking for insects about ten feet away from me.  There is nothing more thrilling than observing nature when none of it knows you are there. 


If you want to provide local, forest-fed protein for your family, you should consider taking a hunter education course.  If you want to witness these incredible things, you just need to act like a deer hunter and go sit in the woods.  Vermont state parks are great places to sit and witness all these unbelievable things.  

Vermont State Parks offers Holiday Gift Packages

Give Summer:  Fully Assembled!


Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Vermont State Parks is offering three Holiday Gift Packages that give recipients something fun to open and use right away, and something fun to look forward to this summer.


Here are the Packages at a Glance:


Day Tripper Package:  Includes a punch card good for 10 state park day visits, a VT State Parks hat, a gift card for one hour boat rental and a VT State Parks tote bag to keep it all in. 


Weekend Getaway Package: Includes two nights of tent, RV or lean-to camping, two VT State Parks water bottles, a bundle of firewood for your camp out and a VT State Parks tote bag.  $79


Full Season of Family Fun Gift Package: Includes a Vehicle Season Pass that provides unlimited day entry into any VT State Park, all season long for up to 8 people per visit, two VT State Parks water bottles, two gift cards for a one-hour boat rental and a VT State Parks tote bag.  $99


Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks commented, "We also offer gift certificates in any denomination, park passes and a variety of parks merchandise.  When you give the gift of the parks, you know you are buying locally, supporting your
State Parks, while giving the receiver a glimmer of the summer to come".

For convenience, the gift boxes are attractively packaged and come ready to give.  Shipping is free and you can order packages online anytime at or by calling the reservation call center
Featured Winter Park: 

Seyon Lodge State Park 

Hiding in the woods, Seyon Lodge State Park provides rustic and welcoming facilities in the midst of the inspiring beauty of Groton State Forest. Situated on the pristine shores of Noyes Pond, the Lodge provides year-round lodging and meeting facilities for individual guests and groups, including small conferences, retreats,and weddings.  

The Lodge at Seyon is situated within the 27,000 acres of Groton State Forest. The secluded setting allows guests to enjoy some of the most beautiful and undisturbed natural scenery in Vermont. 
After a day out snowshoeing though snow or cross country ski touring miles of connecting trails in search of moose tracks, you can come back to the lodge for a homemade local dinner featuring Vermont products and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.    

First Day Hikes
Start your New Year out on the right foot by joining us on New Year's Day for a guided, easy hike in a park near you! Last year we hosted seven guided hikes throughout the day and they were a huge success!
Come for a chance to see animal tracks and signs and learn more about the surrounding environment with questions answered from professional guides. We will also give you tips on how to enjoy exploring the outdoors in wintertime.
We're still working out the details for this year, so check back at our website or on our Facebook page for the latest information.
Ice Climbing?

Have you ever wanted to try or learn more about ice climbing?
Ice climbing in the notch
Keep this on your radar for the winter season.
Smugglers' Notch Ice Bash is an event to promote the sport of ice climbing, to educate climbers, to exhibit and demo new gear, and to share a weekend of fun, challenge, and inspiration with other winter enthusiasts in one of Vermont's most amazing places, Smugglers Notch.
When: January 25-27, 2013. Free gear demos, clinics for the beginner to advanced climber, multimedia slideshows, dry tooling competition, raffles and camaraderie in Vermont's premier ice climbing destination, Smuggler's Notch.   
Parks in the "Off" Season
ice fishing VV
Looking to visit Vermont State Parks after they have closed for the season? Off-season day use visits and camping are magical experiences with many perks. Entry into the parks is FREE (the camping is free too). The parks are very quiet, there are no bugs, and a fire never felt so good. Before you head out to do some cooler visiting and camping remember:
Congrats to 2012 Venture Vermont Participants!
This summer 108 families and 312 individuals completed the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge.

They challenged themselves with tent setting up races, building campfires, climbing trees, hiking summits and even holding frisbee throwing contests.  Venture Vermont is an adventure challenge for both individuals and families to earn free admission into the VT State Parks after completing the challenge. 
For their efforts they earned a VIP gold coin, good for free state park entry of the rest of this year and all of next year. 


Stay tuned around April for next years Venture Vermont re-launch! 

2013 Reservations

North Hero Fence  


We are now taking reservations for the 2013 camping season. Here is what you need to know:   

- Find a park using our Find A Park page, searching for activities that interest you.

- Use the interactive map on each park page to find the location you would like.  


- Make a reservation on-line or call the call center for more advice and to reserve.


See you in 2013! 

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