Vermont State Parks e-newsletter                                        August 2017
Aerial view of Green River Reservoir State Park in Hyde Park, Vermont. Photo by Roguen Carlson 

Hello Everyone,

Craig Whipple,
Director of State Parks 
Welcome to high-summer edition of the Vermont State Parks e-newsletter. It has been great having you visit us so far this season. As fast as summer seems to fly by, there is still lots of time for your warm season adventure at your favorite parks. And lots of summer-time fun to be had. Sure, it's been a little rainy but overall visitation is within a few percentage points of the last two record setting seasons. 

It is always gratifying for me to visit the parks when I get to see all of you having such a great time. That's why we do this work, to give you those opportunities to have fun, reflect, relax and enjoy Vermont's fantastic outdoors with your friends and families. We all benefit from playing outdoors in so many ways. We are healthier, happier and just plain better people for it. All of us here at Vermont State Parks are proud to be able to serve you in that way. So, as soon as you finish reading this wonderful newsletter...get back outside!

See you out there!      

Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks

Guest Blog: A Weekend at Allis State Park
By photo intern Matt Parsons 

CCC- era park office building

Our first camping trip to Allis State Park started like most; with a visit. It is a small park with 18 tent / RV sites with 8 lean-tos. Four or five years ago we stopped in to look around. A co-worker at the time is related to Dick and Betty Stone, who ran the park. We were in the neighborhood and decided to drop in. 

On a more recent trip back from my in-law's, we decided to take a slow ride home from Massachusetts. We toured Silver Lake State Park in Barnard, a half hour south, but our focus was on Allis State Park. On the way in from scenic route 12, we spotted Baker Pond, which confirmed bringing our kayaks. The park is off of Route 65. Down the road from the park is the quiet little hamlet of Brookfield and Sunset lake. The states' only and newly renovated floating bridge gives you access from the park. Of course, we had to say we crossed it! Twice for good measure! 

Park entrance sign 

I have been a fan of stock car racing since I was a kid. I spent many years going to one of the best short tracks in the country. Thunder Road is in the town of Barre and is conveniently located in central Vermont; a stone's throw from Allis State Park. That sealed the deal for a Memorial Day weekend at Allis. My days of camping at the track were over a long time ago, and I was willing to make the 15-minute drive.

Our obligations on Friday nights forced us to start our camping trip on Saturday. The weather was questionable but we couldn't care less; we were going camping come hell or high water! The plan was to hit Baker Pond for our first paddle of the year together. When we arrived, a picnic broke out! The weather was perfect and a flat spot facing the pond was calling our names. A mom and her young daughter were trying their hand at fishing. It was a "Kodak moment". As I roamed around for images to identify Baker Pond with the park , Ann struck up a conversation with the sweet duo. It turns out that Rebecca heads up the Nature Interpretation program for the Vermont State Parks and she and her daughter Alice were camping at the park. Sweeeeet! We had a great conversation about our love for the parks and agreed to see each other in the park.

Kayaking on Baker Pond

We headed for the kayaks in awe of the small world we really live in. Two fishermen in kayaks put in before us. They were in a direct route for their favorite fishing grounds. Later, I saw them reeling in bass. We, on the other hand, planned to paddle around the circumference of the active little pond. Geese had given birth and I captured goslings in tight formation between the gander and the momma goose. What a treat! At the farthest end were a pair of geese guarding their nest. We respected their space and moved on. 

We arrived and quickly checked in to the State's second oldest park. Evidence of the Civilian Conservation Corps handiwork is everywhere. Unfortunately for us, Dick and Betty were no longer managers. I introduced myself as a photo intern to Joy and asked her questions about the park. I got a few friendly ideas about the .75 mile Bear Hill Nature Trail that traverses through the park's woodlands. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to check it out. I guess I'll just have to come back again : ) 

Another day was in the books and the forecast for race day got better. We were grateful for another day in the Parks and headed for bed. The sky was full of stars and a cool breeze lulled us to sleep. I slept like a baby that night, but a cup of coffee by the fire was beckoning by early morning. A desire to climb the fire tower soon overcame me. The car was near the tent and I could hear Ann sawing logs. I was certain that I would wake her and that she would be up by the time I got back. From the top of the tower was a beautiful sight. A rich creamy fog was rising from the valleys below. The tops of nearby hills rested on the creamy goodness like berries on a luscious dessert. It flowed like a river that never ends.

View of the Green Mountains from the Fire Tower

Thunder Road was calling and I was getting anxious to hit the road. We arrived just in time for Class Day. All the cars line up with their shiny new sheet metal in the infield. Racing at "The Road" is always exciting and today was no exception.

In fifteen minutes from leaving the parking lot we were back at Allis enjoying dinner and an evening walk through the park. We rested our feet by laying in our new hammock. Two trees were perfectly spaced at the very edge of our site and in a way that we could see the fire. If it wasn't for the brisk breeze and sudden drop in temperature, we would have slept right in our hammock. Rain was in the mid-morning forecast for Memorial Day so we secured the site before going to bed.

Don't be fooled by the simple green and gold sign! Looking back, we can see that there is more to this park than meets the eye. We are glad we chose Allis State Park for our Memorial Day weekend. It is no wonder why Dick and Betty Stone loved this Park. Thanks for the invitation.

Bonus: Silver Lake State Park in Barnard is less than a half-hour away, and campers can visit other day-use parks for free. 
Vermont Doctors Prescribe Outdoor Activity Through the "Parks Prescription" Program
Dr. Elisabeth Fountaine writes prescriptions for outdoor activity
Following doctor's orders is a lot of fun this summer, thanks to a  statewide push for  outdoor exercise. Physicians around the state will prescribe active play in Vermont State Parks as a way to promote healthy  lifestyles and prevent chronic health issues. 

The Vermont Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation provided Vermont doctors with "prescriptions" that are actually free day passes to state parks. The effort is guided by the principles of Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a global initiative committed to the belief that physical activity plays an integral role in prevention, treatment and management of chronic diseases and should be considered a vital sign of health.

The council and Vermont State Parks are encouraging Vermont's health care professionals to talk with patients about the importance of exercise to prevent and treat chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and mental illness.

"Studies have demonstrated that outdoor exercise is associated with increased energy and revitalization and decreased depression and tension. The sun also helps to create through your skin Vitamin D3, which is important for bone health and metabolic function," said Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine, a physician at Northwestern Medical Center and member of the council. Fontaine is an avid supporter of Exercise is Medicine and frequently encourages her patients to exercise.

The health benefits of outdoor exercise are well documented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults and children participate regularly in aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities and calls on communities to improve access to outdoor recreational facilities such as parks and green spaces to help lead the nation toward active living.

"The Park Prescription program is a perfect way to highlight the connection between outdoor recreation and personal health," said Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks. "Spending time outdoors, connecting with nature and being active all help keep us strong in both body and spirit. And state parks offer the ideal settings for valuable outdoor time!"

Please request prescriptions from your doctor, not the council. Practitioners may request prescriptions from the Council at 
Vermont Parks Forever: The Foundation for Vermont State Parks


Vermont Parks Forever  works in close partnership with VSP staff to expand access to parks, increase educational opportunities and welcome the next generation of park visitors. 

Fort the second year in a row, Vermont Parks Forever raised over $3,000 to purchase park passes for over 100 Vermont foster families.  Stay informed and help spread the word about Vermont Parks Forever!  Check out their Facebook page, follow their tweets, or sign up for their quarterly e-newsletter at
Like us on Facebook     Follow us on Twitter   
We greatly appreciate their support and yours!

Vermont  State Parks Will Offer Pet- Friendly Cabins In 2018 
Good news for people who love camping with their furry companions- certain cabins will be pet-friendly starting in the 2018 season. Reservations for all parks (except Burton Island) can be made 11 months in advance on the first business day of the month. Cabins are always popular, so reserve early! 

Cabin at Button Bay State Park 

The following cabins will be pet friendly in 2018:

Raven cabin, Brighton State Park
Savage cabin, Burton Island State Park
Sedge cabin, Button Bay State Park
Moose cabin, Gifford Woods State Park 
Mansfield cabin, Grand Isle State Park 
Dragonfly cabin, Half Moon Pond State Park 
Both cabins at Lake Carmi State Park
Knox Mountain cabin at Ricker Pond State Park
Otter cabin at Wilgus State Park
Lady Slipper cabin at Woodford State Park

Thanks to our Photo Interns!  
Matt Parsons
Matt Parsons was born and raised in Northwestern Vermont, where he & his family enjoyed camping from a young age. Matt has been a photography intern for many years, and visiting the parks has given him a love and appreciation of our state and its many beautiful natural resources. 
Roguen Carlson

Roguen Carlson graduated from Colby-Sawyer College with a degree in Media and Communications, and lives on his family's farm in Eden. He is an avid outdoorsman, and hopes to start his own aerial photography business.
Take The Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge 

Looking for new ideas for fun summer activities?  

This year's  Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge is well underway, and a few ambitious folks have already finished and received their coins! But don't worry if you haven't started yet- the deadline for submitted entries is October 15th. 

Venture Vermont is an outdoor scavenger hunt, participants earn points while taking part in fun and exciting outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, identifying plant and animal species, and more. The prize is an official coin that earns you free admission to all state park day use areas for the remainder of this year and all of next. 

Venture Vermont Activity: Hike to a summit (10 points)

The Secret Life Of Fungi
By Rebecca Roy

Hiking through Underhill State Park with some other nature explorers last week, we were delighted to find many varieties of bolete mushrooms sprouting all around the woods at the foot of Vermont's tallest mountain. Many of these were blue boletes, which is a common name describing several varieties of bolete mushrooms that turn blue when bruised. Later, finding some in Gifford Woods State Park with my little daughter, we decorated a few mushroom caps with fun, blue patterns (mostly plaid). This has been a wonderful summer for learning to identify mushrooms.

Mushrooms on the trail at Little River State Park

Normally the best time to spot mushrooms in the woods is in the spring and fall in Vermont. However, we have enjoyed a little bit more rain than normal this summer, which caused beautiful mushrooms to pop out all over the woods. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of larger networks of fungi in the ground, and in rotting or dying trees. Fungi form mushrooms as a means of reproducing, mushrooms release spores into the woods, spreading the fungus to other areas. Spores are sort of like seeds from plants, and mushrooms are sort of like fruit carrying the seeds. This has been a great year for viewing mushrooms, and it is a fun challenge learning to identify them.

Mushrooms lead very secret lives, since fungi live out of sight most of the time, it is challenging to know exactly where they are in the woods. You can read all about what certain varieties of mushroom prefer such as type of tree they grow under, whether they like shade or sun, and what kinds of soil they prefer; but it seems like this research does not really help you find them. As always, deliciousness helps the ability to find things. You know how you spot tiny blueberries growing at the top of Big Deer Mountain in New Discovery State Park? That tiny flash of blue is a familiar sight on Vermont mountaintops in August, and you know a blueberry when you see one. Now is a good time to learn one or more delicious edible mushrooms, because they are out there ready for your harvest. Once you learn, you will be able to spot them easily.

Last Sunday I was walking through Allis State Park when I saw some oyster mushrooms growing on a burl of a dying tree in the woods. The oyster mushrooms were pretty small, so I admired them and moved along. A few days later, I found myself in the same spot, only now the oyster mushrooms were much larger, and much more numerous. So I picked a couple for a dinner supplement. Much to my delight, a little bit later in another area of the woods, I found some perfect chanterelle mushrooms, I also harvested a few of these. Oyster mushrooms and chanterelles are two edible mushrooms that are easy to identify.

Oyster mushrooms grow on dead or dying trees, most often on deciduous hardwood trees (I found mine on a dying red maple tree). They are white to light brown in color, they are soft, they have very short stems, and the gills are white, attached, and run all the way down the cap to the stem.

Chanterelles are distinctive because of their bright yellow-orange color on the forest floor. These mushrooms are almost cone shaped, with a small cap, irregularly shaped. The gills are ridges forked, wavy, and run down the stem part of the way. I found mine in a bottom land in a shady spot under some mature hemlock trees.

This is a short summary on how to identify these mushrooms. If you are interested in learning more, you can invest in a good mushroom guide. ( Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora is a good one), but the very best way to learn is to go out in the woods with a mushroom expert. Many Vermont state park interpreters lead mushroom programs in state parks around the state. Lake St Catherine and Little River State Park both have mushroom programs available now. Have fun exploring and learning more. If you are lucky you might be able to add some fresh mushrooms to your dinner.  

One of the popular nature programs at Little River State Park
  • Wednesday morning StoryWalk @ Allis State Park, every week through August, 10 - 11 am. Good for kids 2- 8, all ages welcome. Meet in day use meadow. Craft time follows the walk- supplies provided! 
  • Let's Go Fishing Clinic covers fishing basics at Branbury State Park, August 18th, 1-5 pm. Call the park to reserve a spot at (802) 247-5924.
  • Bear Hill Nature Trail Guided Hike @ Allis State Park in Brookfield. Saturdays through August, 10 - 11 am. 3/4 miles, moderate terrain, bring sturdy shoes and water! Meet by fire tower.  
  • Concert and open jam session with eclectic folk band Snow Crow at Coolidge State Park Bradley Hill Shelter, Saturday, August 19th. Concert from 6-8 pm, jam session following concert. 
  • Band Remember Baker plays a show at the pavilion overlooking Lake Champlain at D.A.R. State Park. Sunday, August 20th at 2 pm. 
This is just a brief listing of park events. Visit the FPR events page for more listings, or call the park you're interested in to find out what's on the schedule! 
Random Acts of Camping Returns to the Parks!

Lucky winner at Waterbury Center State Park
Want to visit a state park beach or day use area and win a weekend of free camping? Yes, please! This is the premise behind the "Random Acts of Camping" promotion, designed to share the joy of camping with Vermonters. "Random Acts of Camping" rewards lucky park visitors with two free nights of tent, RV, lean-to, or cabin camping in any Vermont State Park campground. One winner will be chosen at random on nice weather weekends through August.

This program was developed as a way to increase statewide accessibility to camping and to foster a lifelong love of the outdoors. The winners will be chosen at random by park staff, and will also receive personal trip planning assistance and advice from our customer service team.

To find out what park Random Acts of Camping will be at next, check our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds on Wednesdays.  If the weekend forecast is looking good, we'll announce on these channels which park we'll be at for the upcoming weekend. So. get out and go for a walk or a paddle, you may come back with a free camping trip as well.

Reel Fun Program Expands to 18 Parks 

"Hey, look what I caught!"

Vermont State Parks and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department have expanded the popular " Reel Fun Vermont" program for 2017, meaning added fishing opportunities for park visitors statewide.

Created in 2015, the " Reel Fun Vermont" program provides park visitors with free, loaner fishing equipment to use at any of the participating state parks.  The program is now available at 18 different state parks throughout Vermont.

Getting hooked at Button Bay State Park 

In addition to being able to sign out loaner rods, reels, fishing line and an assortment of lures, park visitors will have access to a fishing guide publication for the various "Reel Fun" parks, developed by Vermont Fish & Wildlife

The guides include information about each water body including a lake, pond or river map, a list of fish species present, fishing tips and techniques applicable to the water body, and information about obtaining a Vermont fishing license.

The following parks will be participating in Reel Fun in 2017:

Woodford State Park on Adams Reservoir 

Stillwater State Park on Lake Groton 

Camp Plymouth State Park on Echo Lake 

Elmore State Park on Lake Elmore

Branbury State Park on Lake Dunmore 

Brighton State Park on Spectacle Pond 

Little River State Park on Waterbury Reservoir 

Grand Isle State Park on Lake Champlain 

Button Bay State Park on Lake Champlain 

Burton Island State Park on Lake Champlain 

Wilgus State Park on the Connecticut River 

Quick Links 

Vermont State Parks

Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge

Vermont Parks Forever

Allis State Park

Bomoseen State Park

Branbury State Park

Brighton State Park

Button Bay State Park

Burton Island State Park 

Camp Plymouth State Park 

Coolidge State Park 

D.A.R. State Park 

Elmore State Park 

Emerald Lake State Park

Gifford Woods State Park

Grand Isle State Park

Green River Reservoir State Park

Half Moon Pond State Park

Jamaica State Park 

Knight Point State Park

Lake Carmi State Park 

Lake St. Catherine State Park 

Little River State Park

Ricker Pond State Park

Silver Lake State Park

Underhill State Park

Waterbury Center State Park

Wilgus State Park 

Woodford State Park

Vermont Fish & Wildlife

"Reel Fun" fishing program

Random Acts of Camping




VT State Parks Blog



General Info

Sunny day at Branbury State Park in Salisbury, Vermont
This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks
Head outside, bask in the sun, and come visit us at the parks!
Vermont State Parks 

Vermont State Parks | 888-409-7579 |
 1 National Life Drive, Davis 2
 Montpelier, VT 05620