Vermont State Parks e-newsletter                                         February 2018
View of Noyes Pond at Seyon Lodge State Park, by innkeeper Tiffany Soukup  

Greetings Everyone!

Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks 
Yes, Spring in Vermont is just around the corner! I am sure I've just jinxed us, weather-wise, but according to the calendar and the occasional warm-ish, sunny February days, it's not far away. That means we here at Vermont State Parks are approaching our exciting time of year. We have been working hard to fill our key staff positions, get our training programs together, buy all the materials and supplies we need and finish up some winter construction projects. All this is in eager anticipation of your visits. By the way, many of our 400 or so paid staff and volunteers first got to know us as park visitors. They came on vacation and decided to return to help us manage these wonderful places and make others' vacations as pleasant and meaningful as possible. If you or someone you know might fit the Vermont State Park mold of super high quality service and are looking for a cool job for the summer, check us out.

We will be waiting for our busy operating season to get here before you know it. In the meantime, spend absolutely as much time as you can having fun with your friends and family, being active and enjoying the outdoors.

See you out there!

Craig Whipple
Director, Vermont State Parks

GUEST ARTICLE:  Winter Life at Seyon Lodge State Park 
By Tiffany Soukup, I nnkeeper 

Winter sunset at the lodge

The winter is a unique time up here at Seyon Lodge. We're nestled right into the 27,000-acre Groton State Forest. Looking across Noyes Pond we can see the fire tower atop Spruce Mountain. The wind careens across the frozen pond and we are reminded how much nature moves around us. The snow is pushed into different formations every day.

For those of us who are winter enthusiasts, the snow pack has remained fairly solid so far. Innkeeper Chris has been right on top of grooming the trails after each snowfall. Plenty a guest and day visitor have been out to enjoy the trails by either hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing or fat biking.

We have remained busy every weekend hosting a wide variety of different groups. Knitters, quilters, scrap-bookers and regular guests have all been having their annual visits to the lodge. No matter the group the one constant remains: cozy time by the fire is a must!

Each morning guests get to watch the blue jays, chickadees and grey squirrels contend for space near the kitchen window. We have seen turkeys, grouse, and a few guests driving up to the lodge were lucky enough to have a moose sighting on their way here! The red dogwood that was snipped opening weekend has started to bloom inside the lodge giving all the guests some bright red and green to remind us spring will soon be coming.

The love of making food this winter has been delighting guests and many kind words have been spoken about the meals. Recently we have been serving up homemade butternut squash soup, herb-crusted baked parmesan haddock with roasted accordion garlic zucchini and mashed parsnips with chocolate stout cake for dessert.

Yet I think the biggest thing about being up at Seyon this winter is the sense of place. So many of the guests that come to Seyon Lodge are repeat visitors many times over. One of our groups just celebrated their 20 th retreat here. As a state park that is also a lodge, we are in such a unique position to connect with our visitors. We know our guests here and welcoming them back each time is like a reunion. If you are reading this as a would-be new guest to Seyon, we hope you will be able to make a trip up here to see us. The summer season still has availability and if you have yet to stay here and experience a night or two up in the lodge surrounded by nothing but forests, we hope you get a chance to do so.

In the meantime, we still have a busy end of winter season ahead of us. To all of you out there, we hope you're having a fantastic winter. For us up here, we will continue baking our breads, grooming the trails and being ready to welcome everyone for their lodge retreat. Our parks and natural places are indeed special places and Seyon is no exception. Thank you to all our wonderful guests and lodge supporters. We couldn't do it without you. Here's to nature, coziness, special places and to finding spots to call our home away from home. 

~Your Innkeepers from the Forest, Tiffany & Chris~

The living room is a cozy spot to relax after a long day

Want to stay, play or learn more?

Unlike the other state parks, for questions or bookings regarding Seyon Lodge visitors should call the lodge directly at 802-584-3829. The Innkeepers' schedules vary greatly- we could be right in the middle of making a meal or out on the trails, so please do leave a message. We will get back to you as soon as we can! 

Day Guests

The park is open daily for self-registration and use of the trails. This winter season the trails are groomed (but not grooved) for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and fat biking. You can register and pay in the kiosk in the parking lot. Fees are $4 per adult or better yet, you can purchase a pass online here  or by calling the call center at 1-888-409-7579 M-F 9am-4pm. Then you will be getting great value out of your pass as it will be valid all summer long too. If you need snacks, meals or drinks, there are some wonderful local businesses in the nearby town of Groton to support. 

Get Married or Have a Meeting

We do also host weddings and conferences here at the lodge. If you have any questions or would like to take a look around, please give us a call and make sure an innkeeper is here and we can greet you at a time that works for both sides.

Thank you so much for your interest in Seyon Lodge and we hope to see you up here!  
The Outdoor Observer:
Signs Of Spring
By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator 

Earlier this month, the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney
 Phil, saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. However, February brings the first phenology of spring to Vermont. We watch seasonal changes with eager eyes in the Northeast. Our woods and fields are full of thick snow, but days are growing longer. We reach ten hours of daylight this month. The earliest sign of spring is enough daylight leftover for evening cross-country ski adventures at Little River State Park after work. We have been enjoying these for the last couple weeks.

Great horned owl on her nest.
Photo credit: Dennis Demcheck, USGS

There are other signs of spring to watch for, to warm your heart on these chilly evenings. Great horned owls are nesting. Female owls are incubating eggs as you read this. Great horned owls reuse nests built by other birds- most often red-tailed hawk, crow, raven, or heron nests. They also sometimes use old squirrel nests. Owls line their nests with feathers from their chest, and fur from their prey. This makes a nice soft nest for the baby owls hatching in about a month. You can hear the male and female owls calling back and forth during this time. The rhythm of their call is "hoo-h-HOO-hoo-hoo." Female owls are larger, but male owls have larger voice boxes and a deeper call. Listen for the back and forth of higher and lower pitched calls, and you know you are listening to a conversation between a nesting pair of great horned owls. These owls prefer habitat with older trees, and some open areas nearby. Woodford, Gifford Woods, Underhill, and New Discovery State Parks all have great habitat for great horned owls.

Not only do we have owls breeding, but migratory birds start returning to Vermont in February. The very first birds you see are large, black turkey vultures soaring high on warm thermals. These large scavengers are quickly followed by red-winged blackbirds. Many people in Vermont mark the start of spring with the first tumbling song of male red-winged blackbirds.

Many of our residential birds start singing, marking their territories, and seeking mates in February. Cardinals, house finches, downy, and hairy woodpeckers all start singing and drumming this time of year. Coyotes are also getting in on the excitement of spring; this is mating time for them and you can hear them howling at night.

Groundhog meteorology is often inaccurate. We watch carefully for signs of spring in Vermont, and we see it in longer days and changing animal behavior. You can watch for signs of spring during your next walk in the woods at your favorite state park. 
Prep For Summer, Buy Park Passes Now 
It may still feel like winter, but it's not too early to  prepare for warm weather by ordering  2018 park passes.  

We offer three different kinds of passes. An individual  pass ( $30) admits the owner of the pass  for day use at any    Vermont  State Park  for  the  entire season. Punch cards (also $30)   provide 10 day-use entries good for an adult or  child. Best of all, they never expire. A v ehicle  pass ($90)  is good  for the entire  season, and  entitles the owner to unlimited  day use for themselves and up to eight  people in their vehicle. 

You can order any of our passes online or through our central call center, M-F 9-4, at 1-888-409-7579.

               Vermont Parks Forever 

Stay informed and help spread the word about Vermont Parks Forever! Sign up for their quarterly newsletter at

We greatly appreciate their support and yours! 

Come work with us this summer 
Summer crew at Coolidge State Park

Are you looking for a fun, meaningful summer job? Want to work outdoors with a great crew in a beautiful natural setting? Consider a position with Vermont State Parks!
We are hiring now for multiple positions, including park attendant, interpreter, trail crew, park manager and more.  Benefits, such as on-site housing, available with certain positions. 
For more info & to apply, visit our online job portal here.

Starting in the 2018 season, one cabin at each park that offers cabins will be pet friendly.

Here is the full list:

Raven Cabin 
Savage Cabin
Sedge Cabin 
Moose Cabin 
Mansfield Cabin
Dragonfly Cabin 
Cabins A & B 
Bear Cabin
Knox Mountain Cabin 
Otter Cabin 
Lady Slipper Cabin 

Now four-legged members of your family can enjoy a cabin stay, too! 
Burton Island Cabins Have New Reservation Policy

The Savage Cabin on Burton Island

Burton Island cabins have a rule change policy that will be good news for fans of our cabins and of out popular summer destination, Burton Island. Cabins are now able to be reserved in one of 2 "packages"- a 4 night weekday package from Monday through Thursday nights, or a 3-day weekend package from Friday through Sunday nights. 

Vermont State Parks' cabins are spacious one room units with electricity, bunk beds, a futon or sleeper sofa, and a table and chairs. There is no bathroom, and all cooking must be done outside. 

Cabin interior with bunk beds 

There are still slots open for both weekends and weekdays, but don't wait long to book- they will go quickly! Call 1-888-409-7579 Monday through Friday, 9am - 4pm to book. 
Seeking Campground Volunteers

In addition to park employees, the Vermont State Parks are also seeking seasonal volunteers for various parks. 

Camping volunteers commit to at least a 6- week stay, work 30 hours per week, and receive a free campsite for their stay (including hook-ups), and free admission to all other state parks while they are volunteering. 

Please  visit our website for the latest list of parks  with openings   and instructions on how to apply.

National Outdoor Recreation Conference Comes to VT 

This year, the annual conference of the Society of Outdoor Recreation professionals will take place in Burlington, Vermont from April 23-26. The conference showcases innovative approaches to outdoor recreation research, planning and management. Vermont was chosen as the hosting state because of its world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, and for its leadership in creating vibrant communities and economies by investing in local conservation while providing access to outdoor recreation. The conference will include classroom sessions featuring presenters from across the country as well as field trips to some of Vermont' favorite recreation hot spots.

NORC video preview

The conference is open to the public. For more information and to enroll visit:
Calling Park Performers! 

We are still seeking park performers for our 2018 season.  If you are a musician, storyteller, birder, crafter, or have another talent you would like to share, please email to learn more. 

Quick Links 

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Coolidge State Park

Gifford Woods State Park

Grand Isle State Park

Half Moon Pond State Park

Lake Carmi State Park

Little River State Park 

New Discovery State Park 

Ricker Pond State Park 

Seyon Lodge State Park

Underhill State Park

Wilgus State Park 

Woodford State Park 

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This is the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks. 

"Despite the forecast, live like it's spring."
-Lilly Pulitzer 

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