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Guest Post: A Winter Hike to Vermont’s State Park - Knight Island by Matt Parsons

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The winter of 2019 in Vermont was one of the most brutal winters in recent history. We experienced everything, from high accumulating snow storms with high winds to freezing rain. The snow storms were reminiscent of my childhood. I can remember snow being piled half way up telephone poles. From December to April, I am confined to my plow truck. By the end of February I want to trade in my childhood enthusiasm of winter for some primal camping. It seems that this phenomenon happens to me every year at around this time. I have camped over night on Burton Island, and day camped at Knight Island, not to mention other winter excursions. I like to test the limits of my body and skills to survive. Doing this in the winter, on an island seems to magnify the experience.

The call to camp on Knight Island was getting louder with every snow storm. The short term forecast provided a break, but it  wasn’t quite the break I was looking for. Between ministry commitments and potential snow coming in …

Get the Sled Out: Where to Go Sledding in Vermont State Parks

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For Vermonters, the winter landscape is like an outdoor playground! There are a lot of ways to play in the snow, but there is nothing quite like feeling the wind whipping and the snow flying as you careen down a hill on a sled. For your luging pleasure, we have put together a list of some great sledding hills in Vermont State Parks to try out this winter:    

Plans Underway for Improvements at Mt. Philo State Park

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Enhancements to Parking, Trails and
Summit Access PlannedAfter nearly a decade of work and with substantial public input, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) has completed the long-range management plan (LRMP) for Mt. Philo State Park. This plan will guide the long-term management and stewardship of the area’s natural resources and human use. Work on the Mt. Philo plan has been a lengthy process, during which several public input meetings were held and the plan underwent multiple revisions to incorporate public feedback.

Among the needs identified in the LRMP are enhancement plans to address parking and trail improvements in response to increased park use. SE Group of Burlington has been contracted to develop an enhanced design to address vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow challenges at the park entrance and summit. As attendance has grown exponentially at Vermont’s oldest state park over the past few decades, this will help the park “catch up” with the influx of visi…

Woods Whys: "Why Are Fir and Spruce Trees so Conical?"

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As people head to the woods to pick out their perfect Christmas tree, check out this excerpt from Woods Whys: An Exploration of Forests and Forestry by Michael Snyder.

     Ask any young child to draw a Christmas tree and chances are he'll draw something close to a triangle. If the kid is particularly tal­ented, she'll draw a cone. Indeed, the cone-shaped tree is as traditional as the holiday itself. Sure, there are the Charlie Browns among us who will settle for a less-than-perfect Christmas tree. But most of us look for a fir or spruce with just the right taper, symmetry, and conical form.
     That conical shape is certainly the norm at most Christmas tree farms, and the short explanation for it is that the tree farmer shears them that way. Of course, there's more to it than that. Even if you are wandering afield in search of a wild Christmas tree far from any shears or knives, there are plenty of classic cone-shaped specimens out there. In winter, these conical evergreen…

Join Vermont State Parks for First Day Hikes

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Start the new year on the right foot with a hike in a Vermont state park. On January 1, 2020, everyone is invited to join a free, guided, family-friendly hike taking place at many state parks and forests across Vermont. Hikes will be led by professional guides and outdoor educators eager to share their knowledge and love of Vermont’s outdoors. 

Don’t need a guide? No matter where you live in Vermont, a state park or state forest is always close by, and you can still get outside to enjoy it. State park entry is free on New Year’s Day (and all winter long). You’ll discover a whole new world in winter.

Please dress for the weather and bring snowshoes if the snow is deep. Please also bring beverages and snacks. Dogs are welcome (on leash) unless otherwise noted. You don’t need to pre-register, just show up! To check the status of the hikes, call our First Day Hikes “Hotline” at 802-249-1230. Updated messages will be posted to the Hotline on December 31st and January 1st. 

Check out our Faceb…

Craft Corner: Nature Holiday Ornaments

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Want to enjoy the magic of the winter wonderland and the warmth of a wood stove? Bring the magic of the outdoors into your cozy winter abode! Stoke the fire, grab a cup of cocoa, and check out our round-up of nature-inspired crafts to celebrate the season.

Remember: For crafts involving natural materials, only use materials that are no longer living.

Bark Ornaments
Supplies: bark, glue, sugar sprinkles or other natural materials to glue down, twine, scissors, power drill
1. Collect bark from a woodpile or the forest floor and dry it first. Break it up into smaller pieces. The flatter the pieces of bark are, the easier they will be to work with.
 2. Create a shape in glue (like a circle to make a wreath or a triangle for a Christmas tree). Make sure not to go too heavy on the glue as it runs.
3. Add your sprinkles or other natural materials to the glue. Set aside to dry. For younger crafters, larger pieces are easier to handle.
4. Drill a hole in the top part of the bark using a power drill.
5…

Think “Outside” The Box: Vermont State Parks Unveils New Line of Holiday Gift Packages

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MONTPELIER –This year, Vermont State Parks is offering a brand-new line of holiday gift boxes guaranteed to put Vermont’s great outdoors under your tree. The popular packages include a variety of outdoor gear and outdoor experiences, come fully wrapped and ready to give, and shipping is free. They can be conveniently ordered online and shipped to the purchaser or the recipient.
There is a package for every budget. Take a look:
2019 Holiday Packages
For the day tripper: For $69, this gift package is the true ticket to several weekends full of adventure. The package contains a punch card good for 10 state park day visits, a notebook and pen set, and a Vermont State Parks dry bag.
For the weekend warrior: Give two nights of tent, lean-to or RV camping in a state park, a coupon for a free armload of firewood, two Vermont State Parks wine tumblers, and an LED lantern for $99.
For the whole family: Grab this family fun package at $165 and unlock an entire season of adventure. The package include…