November 2021
Above the trees at Smugglers' Notch State Park - Jeremy Hinkson
Greetings Everyone,
Here at Vermont State Parks, we are reflecting on the memorable moments and milestones of a truly remarkable operating season. This season state parks hosted their highest visitation levels in the past 33 years, illustrating that Vermont’s parks are more relevant than ever.
Building from the energy of an incredible season, our small yet mighty team of year-round staff is now busy planning for off-season activities and laying the groundwork for next season.
While our official park attendance is measured by counting those folks who enter a park and register during what we call the operating season, we also welcome many people who visit the parks in the off-season. It is a different experience, but the magic of our natural world delights, no matter the time of year. Our state parks and state forests help make year-round outdoor recreation an integral aspect of the state’s identity and outdoor lifestyle.
I hear Vermont referred to as 'this park we call home' and our magnificent state parks are a fundamental part of this. The amazing collection of photos from our Falling for Vermont State Parks photo contest reinforces that view. I encourage you to order some state park mementos to have on hand for those days when you are unable to visit a park in person!

Warm regards,

Nate McKeen, Director of Vermont State Parks
Adventure in Every Gift!
Wish you were outside instead of trying to find holiday gifts for your loved ones? Easy! Whether you're looking for a stylish shirt, an upgrade to your picnic set, or you just want to bring the good memories everywhere you go, we have something for everyone!
Looking for stocking stuffers or want to build your own gift set?  You're in luck! 

We have:
  • gift certificates and cards - any amount $20 and over
  • 2022 punch cards, individual and vehicle passes
  • picnic baskets
  • patches
  • t-shirts
  • hats
  • and more!
Mix and match park swag or give the gift of adventure with a Vermont State Parks gift card! Gift cards can be purchased for any amount over $20. Not sure your order will make it in time? Gift certificates are electronic documents that are automatically generated at time of sale. Print it and you'll come in just under the buzzer!
Falling for VT State Parks Photo Contest
Counterclockwise from top: 1st Place -Sunset at Waterbury Center State Park - Jennifer Tungol; 2nd place - Shot at dusk before a chilly night at my favorite camping spot on Green River Reservoir. - Matthew Binginot; 3rd place - Late evening kayakers at Molly's Falls Pond State Park – Suzanne L. Roberts

The 2nd Falling for Vermont State Parks photo contest was a success, with over 70 photographers submitting more than 130 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!
"On the day I visited, it was drizzling and then it suddenly stopped. A rainbow appeared soon after on top of the hill on one side of the park and then later, on the same hill, 2 young boys ran to the top of it and had so much fun as they rolled downhill. What a happy discovery...I took the photo just as the wind quieted down (I even held my breath for fear of disturbing the waters). I captured the quietness and meditative quality of the water and the park. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to share the feeling through the photo. These momentary cloud transitions and daily sunset motions reflected in placid waters are available in Vermont State Parks, it’s free. All that’s needed is to show up!" - Jenny Tungol, 1st place winner on her winning shot.

Outdoor Observer: Autumn Woods
To the right: Beech leaves cling to the branches long after other leaves have fallen - Lee Krohn

The hillsides of Vermont are covered with the empty branches of deciduous trees reaching up into the sky and the occasional golden yellow burst of poplar leaves. By the time you read this all those last poplar leaves may have fallen to the ground, soon to be covered by the first snow in the Vermont autumn woods. Living in northern New England, we constantly witness seasonal changes in the forests all around us.

One tree tending to hang on to leaves over the winter is the American beech. Looking out across the wooded landscape you can see these golden-brown leaves dominating the understory in many Vermont woods. When you stand in those woods close your eyes and you will hear the beech leaves rattling in the autumn breeze.

November brings these changes in our trees, and it also brings white-tailed deer hunting season in Vermont. When you are sitting out in the woods waiting patiently for an antlered deer to walk by you notice the sounds of rustling beech leaves in the breeze because it can sound like the hooves of an approaching animal.
To the left: A male white-tailed deer, also called a buck, stands in a field.

White-tailed deer are in their breeding season in November, which is also called the rut. The changing photoperiod, or length of daylight in November signal deer it is time to mate. Later young deer are born in May or June the following spring.

Deer are browsers, eating twigs and plants in the forest. So why are there so many uneaten young beech trees growing in the Vermont woods? Deer do not enjoy eating beech saplings, beech is not a preferred food for deer. They much prefer other hardwood tree saplings like maple and birch. 

The young beech trees you see are suckers growing out of roots of adult beech trees in the area, so they are shoots growing out of the roots of older trees and not individual trees. Most beech trees in Vermont have beech bark disease, which is a combination of a scale insect and a fungus. This tree disease creates the bumpy scars you see on the normally smooth bark of adult beech trees. Sick trees propagate by sending up the root shoots as a last attempt to preserve their genetics as the larger tree declines.

To observe the presence of deer in the forest for November deer hunting, you need to examine the browse of other plants in the area and not focus on young beech trees when looking for deer browse. If you are out for a peaceful walk in the beautiful November woods, make sure you wear some blaze orange so hunters can see you. Hunting is allowed in state parks when facilities are closed for the season. (Check hunting season dates here.)

November is a great month to be out in the woods no matter what activity you choose. The next time you are out in the woods take a closer look and listen for the beech trees around you. 

Rebecca Roy, Parks Interpretive Program Manager

Off Season 101: Know Before You Go
To the right: A family snowshoes with their lab/husky mix - Kim Belongia

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

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.

Thank you for over 1,000,000 visitors!
Thank you everyone for your support! We had over 1,030,000 visitors this year, making it the fifth most attended year in the 97 years of parks history.


In this season of thanksgiving, we are grateful for the 10,000+ campers who chose to round up to support the parks when they made their reservations this year. Your gift to Vermont Parks Forever helped give park passes to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience the state parks, fund student internships focused on public service, stewardship, and equity, and support nature education for us all. Read our 2021 Impact Report to learn more.
Together, you made a big difference!

As the foundation for Vermont State Parks, Vermont Parks Forever works to protect and enhance Vermont’s 55 state parks. There’s more great work to be done together:
Support Vermont Parks Forever and increase our impact in the parks next year!

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
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy