November 2020
Mount Moosalamoo at Branbury State Park with the last rays of sunset. - E. George
Greetings Everyone,
Welcome to the newest edition of the Vermont State Parks newsletter. The parks have ended their normal operating season and 2020 will certainly be one for the record books. The fantastic news is that for Vermonters, camping activity exceeded last year’s high level even considering this year the season started a full month later! We are thrilled to have been able to be so successful just when everyone needed it most. I’d also like to give a huge shout-out to our frontline park staff, who worked exceedingly hard with all those special cleaning efforts that made it possible for more than 766,000 visitors to safely enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities at the state parks during this pandemic. I’m so proud of them and all of our regional and central office supporting staff. Way to go Team Parks!

As we head into the off-season, I also want to remind everyone that the parks are still there for you. While not staffed in the off-season, the state parks are always open to the public for hiking, snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing or just a short walk to enjoy the vast beauty of Vermont’s natural landscape. Thinking about off-season camping? Be sure to check out the off-season rules for a getaway that is bound to be fun. Please visit our website to get information and apply for your off-season camping permit. The parks continue to be a wonderful option all year-round and we invite you to take full advantage!

So until next time, as Acting Director of the best state park system in the country, I wish you all the best.

Be well and stay safe,

Ellen McCarron, Acting Director of Vermont State Parks
Choose Your Own Adventure!
Because of the pandemic, staff are working remotely without access to park merchandise, so holiday gift packages and other park merchandise won’t be available for purchase this holiday season. 

But good news, we are excited to announce two new ways to stuff stockings or to build your own gift set: gift certificates and gift cards!

Just choose the dollar amount and let the recipient enjoy a camping adventure, a stay in a cabin, day use passes or future merchandise. It's easy and a gift that the entire family can enjoy. Gift cards and certificates can be purchased for any amount above $20. 

Gift cards are physical cards mailed to the address on your account, while gift certificates are sent immediately via email. These are a great gift no matter your budget!

Outdoor Observer: Getting Ready for Winter 
To the left: A hiker enjoys the view at Quechee Gorge - B. Zhang.

November opens with brilliant yellow poplar leaves and winds down into December with chilly winter weather. This is the time of year in Vermont when we look out the window and see a landscape of bare tree branches reaching into gray sky. Days are shorter. November makes it easy to snuggle under a blanket in your favorite chair in front of the woodstove with your favorite Pearl S. Buck novel, or on more productive evenings, carefully putting away your summer recreation gear under electric lights. 

As I organize and pack away all my fishing gear, I think about my favorite summer memory, pulling brook trout out of the gorge in Quechee State Park. There is nothing more exciting than coaxing your fly into a deep pool under a rock in a swift stream and watching as a small trout strikes.  

These bright, beautiful, and lively fish are the only native stream-dwelling trout in Vermont. Brook trout survive in only the cleanest, clearest water, and they usually hide under rocks, logs and undercut banks. They have a long, streamlined body that is greenish with red spots with bluish halos on their sides, gold wormlike markings on top, and a reddish and silver belly with a square tail.
To the right: A brook trout swims upstream - R. Hagerty

It is easy to assume that everything in nature is slowing down and getting ready for the colder months, but there is still lots of activity in the forests and fields of Vermont. As you read this right now, in Quechee State Park brook trout are swimming into shallow, clean areas of the Ottauquechee River. The females are digging nests (called a redd) 4-12 inches deep in the bottom of the clear, gravel streambed. The redd can be 1-2 feet in diameter. The fish then churn up the water as they release the eggs and milt. After the eggs are laid and fertilized, the female covers them with a bit of gravel. In 2-3 months, the young fry will hatch, but brook trout do not reach maturity until they are at least 2 years old.
Brook trout make a great sport fish because they are fun to catch, and they live even in the tiniest tributaries you can find in the Vermont hills. Next year when trout season opens again, you can try and catch them yourself at Brighton, Seyon Lodge, Woodford, Jamaica, and Quechee State Parks. Or head on in and visit those places today and you might be able to catch a peek at spawning brook trout.  

Rebecca Roy, Parks Interpretive Program Manager
Did you know...
managing your reservations online is easier than ever before? Change dates, sites, and even parks with just a couple of clicks.
  1. Visit 
  2. Select - RESERVE
  3. Scroll down to - Make Reservations
  4. Log in with your User/Password
  5. Go to - Current Reservations
  6. Find your reservation you want to edit and select “See Detail”
  7. Select “Change Reservation” (to change dates and/or sites within park)
  8. Select “Transfer to Another Park” to move reservation to another State Park entirely

For more Reservation FAQs, check out our blog.
New Virtual Hikes Series
To help bring the parks to you, we launched our first VT State Parks Virtual Hikes.

Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates.
Off-Season 101: What To Know Before You Go
To the right: Ice fishing at Bomoseen State Park.

Parks are great places to go for skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding, fat biking, snowmobiling and more. What are some basics to know?

All travel restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines must be followed. Make sure you check out our COVID-19 updates page before heading to parks.

No facilities or services available: restrooms, running water, etc. Carry in and carry out everything that you bring with you.

Please park only in a manner that allows access by others and please drive only on established roadways or parking areas. This means that when a gate is closed, park outside without blocking, and walk in. In winter, plowed parking is available in certain locations.  A list of winter access areas can be found here. 

Park staff are only present sporadically during the off-season. We invite you to be our "eyes and ears" by please reporting to anything you notice amiss or discover out of the ordinary.

Off-season camping is free and available from November 1st through April 15th, and has an additional set of rules. Please request an online permit at least 3 days prior to going in.  Learn more about off-season camping and request a permit here.
Falling for VT State Parks Photo Contest
Counterclockwise from top: 1st Place - View from Mt. Philo by Molly Weber; 2nd place - Green River Reservoir State Park at sunset - Kevin Barry; 3rd place - Fall foliage at Coolidge State Park - Kimberly Marlatt 

The 1st Falling for Vermont State Parks photo contest was a success, with eighty photographers submitting over 170 different photos. Winners were chosen from 20 finalists with the grand prize of a $100 VT State Parks Gift Card. Stay tuned for our next contest announcement!
Looking for new places to explore?
Favorite trailhead a little busy? Find a new spot at!

You can sort by activity, difficulty level, accessibility, and more to find great trails.

In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the 9,000+ campers who chose to round up their reservation to the nearest dollar to support the parks when they made their reservations online this park season. Your gift to Vermont Parks Forever helps give park passes to those in need, funds student internships in the parks, and supports nature education for us all. You made a big impact!
Looking for a way to get more involved?

As the foundation for Vermont State Parks, Vermont Parks Forever works to protect and enhance Vermont’s 55 state parks. We’re searching for individuals who care for the parks as much as we do! Interested in serving on our board? Find out how to apply. 
Vermont Parks Forever, the Foundation for Vermont State Parks
Share your pictures!
We love to see your Vermont State Parks adventures! Post them on our Facebook page or share them with #VTStateParks on Instagram or Twitter

Thank you for reading the official newsletter of Vermont State Parks!
Vermont State Parks | 1 (888) 409-7579 | |

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” —Henri Frederic Amiel