Vermont State Parks e-newsletter                                November 2016

Hello Everyone!

Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks 

Welcome to the November edition of the Vermont State Parks e-newsletter. Did you know there are over 26,000 people looking at this? Our state parks Facebook messages reach over 36,000 and we have more than 20,000 Twitter followers. And, we expect to almost tie last year's record park attendance for the season! All this is clear indication of the value Vermont State Parks holds for lots and lots of people. We are happy and proud to help care for these special places and to bring this service to you.

But, as you can see from this newsletter, we are certainly not slowing down! With a new state park in Hubbardton, First Day Hikes, new cabins on Burton Island, new mountain bike trails at Little River, a completely rebuilt Stone Hut on Mt. Mansfield, things have really been busy around here. Our enthusiasm never slows! We are always thinking about new ways to make park experiences better and new ways to encourage people to get outdoors and enjoy Vermont, outside.

It is a real pleasure to have a such a strong nonprofit partner in our efforts now. Vermont Parks Forever is in full swing reaching out to find resources to make Vermont State Parks even better. The future of our park system is bright, for sure!

It's a great time to get outdoors, folks. Relax, reflect, and rebound from the significant stresses we all feel by taking that walk in the woods.
See you out there!   


Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks


A Great Year For Our Parks! 
 
Photo credits: Dennis Curran, James LaMorder, Larry Thompson 
What's your favorite way to enjoy Vermont's extraordinary landscape? 

Perhaps you were among the million visitors last year who hiked, camped, and explored our amazing state parks. 

Vermont Parks Forever partners with Vermont State Parks to enhance park-goers' experiences, inspire stewardship of our natural places, and improve park access. Generous gifts from park enthusiasts like you have supported a number of projects in 2016, including: 
  • Purchasing season passes for foster families so that they could enjoy the wonder of our parks
     
  • Supporting the effort to rebuild the fire-damaged Stone Hut at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe 
     
  • Establishing a youth scholarship to support and annual summer internship at Mt. Philo State Park 
     
  • Participating in the creation of the new Muckross State Park in Springfield, a legacy gift establishing our 53rd state park in July 
     
  • Assisting with another legacy gift to create our newest park, Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park in Hubbardton, in October

Next, VPF will be working on a multi-year initiative to redesign six nature centers at parks around the state. "Natural Connections" is an innovative public/private partnership that will begin by creating museum-quality exhibits for Button Bay State Park in Addison County and the Groton Nature Center in the Northeast Kingdom. The exhibits will invite you to connect your own experiences in nature to Vermont's ecological history and will seek to inspire the next generation of conservationists. 


From the peaks of our picturesque mountain slopes to the cool depths of our pristine lakes, there is so much to treasure about Vermont's state parks and so much more we can accomplish with your help. Would you make a tax-deductible gift to support our work in 2017 to preserve and enhance these gems?


 

Thank you, 


 

Sarah Alberghini Winters 

Executive Director 

Visit us online to learn more: 

VermontParksForever.org

or call (802) 917-1719 

Mt. Mansfield's Stone Hut Set To Reopen on Dec. 1st, 2016 
 
Susan Bulmer, Parks Regional Manger, John Medose, Parks Regional Facilities Manager, Gov. Shumlin, and Commissioner Snyder visit the Stone Hut   

Lottery, with some changes, is held November 16th 

Near the top of Mount Mansfield, reconstruction of the historic Stone Hut is nearing completion. Barring any last minute construction issues, the Hut will be open to overnight guests again starting December 1, 2016.

The hut was closed to visitors after a fire on Christmas Eve, 2015, destroyed most of the building.

Through the efforts of the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (FPR), and funding received through Vermont Parks Forever, the non-profit foundation supporting the parks, rebuilding the Stone Hut was fast-tracked so that visitors would be able to return this season.



"We are so grateful for the incredible outpouring of support," said Michael Snyder, the commissioner of FPR. "Everywhere I went people would tell me about their special Stone Hut experiences. Then they would offer to help in any way they could, either by donating supplies or labor, or offering financial support. It was amazing - and a testament to its importance in peoples' lives." 

"The structure wasn't a total loss. The original stones were salvaged and used in the new building. We worked closely with historic preservation and our architect to re-create the hut as close to the original as possible, while incorporating new upgrades to meet new code and safety standards," said Susan Bulmer, Parks Regional Manager.


Outside of the new Stone Hut 

More information about the Stone Hut, including detailed reservation procedures can be found here.
State Park entry is FREE on Black Friday- will you go out with us?
 
This year, choose to 
#OptOutside

 
In the past few years, you may have noticed the growing movement around the country focused on getting folks outside and active on Black Friday as an alternative to shopping. Outdoor retailer REI has been a leader in promoting this message- closing its stores on Black Friday and promoting it online using the hashtag #OptOutside. 

That's a message that we can get behind. In that spirit, Vermont State Parks is joining in, and want to remind everyone once again that all of our parks will offer FREE admission on Black Friday. (In fact, for the rest of the off-season too!) 
 
We encourage everyone to spend that extra time outside with friends and family enjoying our beautiful state. Our parks have many great spots to walk, bike, hike, run, or just sit and digest the 3 pieces of pie you just ate. 

 
Want to get involved in #OptOutside? 

Visit our blog! Tell us where you'll be "opting out" and read others' ideas. We will be compiling a list of ways to Opt Outside, and will add more as we get closer to the event. 

We're also inviting people to take pictures of themselves, friends and family as they #OptOutside, and share them with us on social media. Post them to our  Facebook page  or  Twitter feed , and tag them #OptOutside and @VtStateParks. By sharing your photo, you'll have the opportunity to win a 2017 Vermont State Parks pass! 

We will be posting updates and photos on social media and our website throughout November, so stay tuned. 

Most importantly: mark your calendars and on Black Friday, remember to #OptOutside.
 
News Briefs 

A new state park, and brand new cabins on a popular island 

View of Mount Zion from the Taconic Mountains Ramble 

State Acquires Property in Hubbardton to Become Newest State Park 

Last month, the State of Vermont acquired the property of Carson "Kit" Davidson, which will become the newest State Park. 

Officially called the Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park, the property features trails, lovely views of nearby Mt. Zion, and a Japanese Garden. 

Japanese Garden on the property 

New Cabins at Burton Island State Park 

Also new this year are three new cabins at Burton Island State Park. All cabins have views of Lake Champlain and are named for nearby islands: Savage, Sunset, and Popasquash. 

The cabins will be reservable for 2017 on January 15th. Reservations must be made for a full week, and like the current system, can be made online or through  the call center at 1-888- 409- 7579. 

Lake Champlain from the Popasquash Cabin

Easy Post-Thanksgiving Hikes 

Don't fall asleep after dinner, go for a relaxing walk with family or friends

Here are some options in Vermont State Parks

Vista Trails at Niquette Bay State Park, Colchester VT

Not far from Burlington, there are several trails at Niquette Bay to chose from, so take your pick! Great views of Mallets Bay and Lake Champlain, as well as the Green Mountains and  Adirondacks. 

Reservoir Loop Trail, Woodford State Park, Woodford VT 

The longer main trail in  Woodford circumnavigates the reservoir and campground. Ample opportunity for wildlife viewing. Can be accessed from the day use parking area or several points along the campground road. 

Healing Springs Nature Trail, Lake Shaftsbury State Park, Shaftsbury VT 

The walk around  Lake Shaftsbury provides a glimpse of the area's history as well as its beautiful woods and waters. Rich wetlands provide a home and nesting area for birds that prefer seclusion. 

First Day Hikes Return! 
 
Spend the first day of the new year with us. 

Once again this year, Vermont State Parks will be offering guided, FREE First Day Hikes all across Vermont. In past years, our guides have included professional guides and outdoor educators sharing their knowledge and love of the Vermont landscape. 
winter hiking
Dress warmly and in layers, bring snacks and drinks, and your friends and family. 

We are also still looking for volunteers to lead First Day Hikes! Introduce a group to your favorite park or trail. Contact Jessica Savage for more details at Jessica.Savage@vermont.gov

To get more info, or find the closest hike to you, check our website www.vtstateparks.com, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. We will be posting information about all First Day hikes as they are added. 

Vermont State Parks Holiday Gift Packages (and more!) Ready to Order


One-of-a-kind items for the parks lover on your shopping list. We have gift certificates, park passes, gift-wrapped packages, hats, hoodies and more. Order online, over the phone or by mail.
 
Day Tripper Package 
 
Day Tripper Holiday Gift Package
Comes gift wrapped, and includes the following:

1 punch card
1-hour boat rental (printed card)
1 hat
1 tote bag
$59

Weekend Getaway Package 
 

Comes gift wrapped, and includes the following:

2 nights of tent, RV or lean-to camping
2 enamel Happy Camper mugs
1 armload of firewood
1 picnic tablecloth
1 deck of playing cards
1 tote bag
$89

Full Season of Family Fun Package 
 

Comes gift wrapped and includes the following:

1 Family Vehicle Season Pass  (provides free day use entry for up to 8 people in one vehicle in any Vermont State Park day use area all season long)
2 water bottles
1 "Explore" Beach towel
2 1-hour boat rentals
1 deck of playing cards
1  tote bag
$139

More Featured Items

Trucker Hat
 


One size fits all, white mesh back. Comes in green/ yellow or slate/ orange.
$12

Stoneware Stein 
 

Stylish stoneware stein with the parks logo. Comes in its' own box for safe shipping. Made in the USA. 
$24 (+ 6% VT sales tax) 

Stewards of Fun Hoodie
 


Soft, cheery blue hoodie with orange and yellow "Stewards of Fun" logo. 
$28

Or, call our reservation call center at
1-888-409-7579.
THE OUTDOOR OBSERVER 
November 2016: Bring Nature Inside 

By Rebecca Roy 


I work for Vermont State Parks because I love nature, and you are reading this because you do too. This time of year in Vermont we are saying goodbye to the green plants, flowers, insects, and songbirds of summer; and bracing ourselves for the coming winter months.

You can find comfort in change by observing the seasonal changes outdoors. Look for the true shape and form of deciduous trees after the leaves fall. Gaze far into the woods and see the lay of the land, and perhaps animals traveling through. Watch the blue sky darken as the days grow shorter.

The power of our connection to the natural world keeps us centered and grounded. Sometimes we feel separated from nature in the course of our harried days spent commuting in cars, working in office buildings, and arriving home bewildered and tired, ready to sit down and take a break. I encourage you to keep your spirits high, and your memories of time spent in your favorite state park by making time for nature. Even a few minutes spent in the woods can lessen stress, improve your health, and strengthen your concentration.



One powerful lesson I learned from my five-year-old daughter, is the value of bringing nature inside. No one is more enthusiastic about gathering milkweed pods, oak leaves of varying colors and shapes, and dried flowers into a home than a young, curious child. Embrace that spirit, and create your own collections of cones, acorns, and leaves you find on your visits to your favorite outdoor spots. I like to pick up cones and little stones, we have a nice wooden bowl we use to display our discoveries. You do not need anything fancy, just a spot, a corner for nature.

This year we are also experimenting with bringing some of our outdoor plants inside. As I write this, I have a pink flowering geranium, pink impatiens, and a purple mini petunia growing next to me on the kitchen table. I just purchased a small grow light for a sunflower we are cultivating in our warm living room. Nurturing plants in your living space creates comforting green in a world of winter white.

As the last of the larches turn vibrant yellow, and the final oak leaves blow by on a strong wind, relive your favorite state park summer memories through the pieces of nature you brought indoors. Remember that brook trout you reeled in at Woodford State Park when you hold the same color in your hand in a speckled maple leaf. Remember jumping into cool water at Boulder Beach State Park when the golden brown birch catkin you found falls apart in your hand like a thousand tiny waves. Remember how it felt to stand on top of the fire tower at Mt. Ascutney State Park when you hold a small piece of granite reminiscent of the rock ledges at the summit. Nothing can warm a weary heart like outdoor memories, bring nature inside and revisit your own.    
Campfire Cook-Off Challenge Winners Announced

 
  
Like a metaphorical marshmallow over the flames, Vermont State Parks' first ever Campfire Cook-Off video challenge has gone out in a blaze of glory. It's time to announce our culinary campfire winners!

Recap: The Campfire Cook-off challenged entrants to film themselves or their team preparing their favorite campfire recipe. Time limit was under two minutes, and the winners were determined via online voting.

Here are our winners, with links to the videos:

1st Prize:  "Campfire Apple Tarts" by Sally Cook 

2nd Prize: "Breakfast Moon Pies" by Garry Sager

3rd Prize: "Campfire Pizza" by Nancy Rouse

Congratulations to our winners and to everyone who participated. We hope everyone had fun with their entries- we sure had fun watching them! 
Featured Photo Intern
 
Bryce Metzger
Meet Bryce Metzger. Bryce is 20 years old, originally from Fair Haven NJ, attending UVM. An avid outdoorsman, backcountry snowboarding in winter, and mountain biking in summer; Bryce also enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, as well as photographing and documenting the natural environment. Working out of the Burlington area some of his favorite local spots include Red Rocks Park as well as Rock Point. Bryce can be found behind the lens of his Canon DSLR, GoPro, or iPhone camera throughout Northern Vermont working alongside our parks to capture the stunning beauty of VT. You can follow his work on his webpage as well as on Instagram: @bmetzger 
Quick Links 

Vermont State Parks

Vermont State Parks Merchandise

Vermont Parks Forever

Campfire Cook-Off

Stone Hut

Boulder Beach State Park 

Burton Island State Park

Button Bay State Park

Groton Nature Center

Lake Shaftsbury State Park

Little River State Park

Mt. Ascutney State Park

Mt. Philo State Park

Niquette Bay State Park

Camping Tips & Tricks

Off Season Park Use

Hiking

Mountain Biking

Reservations

Cabins & Cottages

VT State Parks Blog

Reservations

General Info

View from Mt. Mansfield on a fall day, by Bryce Metzger
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks
After a joyful Thanksgiving with family and friends, turn on, tune in, and #OptOutside

-Vermont State Parks 

Vermont State Parks | 888-409-7579 | parks@vermont.gov
 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
 Montpelier, VT 05620