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Vermont State Parks Announces First Time Happy Campers Program

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Try out camping for free, gear included

Vermont State Parks is excited to launch the new First Time Happy Campers Program at five parks during the months of July and August. Created in partnership with the Outdoor Gear Exchange, this program provides free camping for new campers, whose names will be chosen at random when they register through https://www.vtstateparks.com/happy-camper.html.

The program is designed to encourage families who haven’t camped before to give it a try. Participants will receive a free campsite, firewood, tents, camp stove, lantern and sleeping pads. If campers don’t have sleeping bags or don’t want to bring bedding from home, they can purchase sleeping bags online from the Outdoor Gear Exchange for a discounted rate of $34.95 for delivery to their home or pick up upon arrival at the park.
On Friday night, campers will be met by friendly park interpreters who will show them around and help set up their camp, providing camping tips and support throughout the week…

Adventure Time: 21 Day Trips To Take This Summer

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Don't have camping reservations this summer? Not to worry. Here are 21 suggestions for park day trips that ought to last you all summer long. 
Hit the beach- take your pick! 36 parks have easy access to a body of water, and swim-water test results are posted here. Rent a canoe, kayak or SUP. Prices are listed on our website.Check out fishing gear for free from one of 17 participating parks with the Reel Fun program, and try casting a line.Look for loons: common spots for sightings are Brighton State Park, Green River Reservoir, and Boulder Beach on Lake Groton.Get a bit of learnin’ with your vacation at a nature program. Guided hikes and paddles, or nature crafts. Get a listing of park programs and events happening during your visit.Climb a fire tower at the following parks: Allis, Elmore or Molly Stark.Participate in the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge and win free park entry all season long!Go mountain biking one of the new trails at Little River State Park, or take the histor…

Stay the Weekend: Woodford State Park

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If you had to guess what state park campground in Vermont has the highest elevation, most would probably nominate Smugglers’ Notch, located on a steep, narrow road near Mt. Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont. But, this is not accurate. The park with the highest elevation is an unassuming spot called Woodford, located in extreme southern part of the state only a few miles from the Massachusetts border. The elevation (2,400 ft) is due to its’ location on a plateau in the southern Green Mountains, not far from the Appalachian Trail/ Long Trail. Spruce/ fir forest is more common here, again more reminiscent of the northern forest of the Northeast Kingdom than the hardwoods usually seen in southern Vermont. In addition to hiking, Woodford is also popular with boaters who want to explore the waters and wetlands of the Adams Reservoir. 

Here is a sample itinerary to help plan your trip.
Friday night: Check in & set up camp, dinner and relax
Saturday morning: Kayak or fish on the Ada…

Bomoseen State Park Named Most ‘Family-Friendly’ Fishing Spot in Vermont

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CASTLETON, Vt. – The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has nominated Bomoseen State Park in Castleton as the best family-friendly fishing spot in Vermont. 
Bomoseen is now in the running for being named among the foundation’s ‘Top 10 Mom-Approved Places to Fish and Boat in the Nation.’  Voting is open now through June 29 and each vote is a chance to win a family fishing andboating trip to Florida.
“Taking kids fishing can be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a summer day,” said Shawn Good, a fisheries biologist stationed near Bomoseen who frequently fishes there with his son.  “Bomoseen State Park has many of the things that make for a successful fishing trip with young children. It’s best to break up time spent fishing with other activities, and Bomoseen has playgrounds and a beach to go swimming during that down time.  There are also canoe and kayak rentals so that families can get out on the water together while they’re fishing.”
Bomoseen also participates in Vermont …

An Ode To Vermont Trails

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Saturday, June 2nd is National Trails Day, where people all over the country make a point to get out and hike, or do spring maintenance on their favorite local trail. 

In Vermont we love our trails, and there truly is a trail for everyone regardless of interest and ability. 
To highlight trails in state parks and state lands, we've compiled a list of trail adventures you might like to try this summer. This list only scratched the surface, and we've decided to leave out Camel's Hump and Mt. Mansfield in favor of lesser-known options. 
Find a trail that suits your mood!
I want..  
An easy trail with good views
The trail to Button Point at Button Bay State Park is flat and leads to lovely views of Lake Champlain. Or walk the shoreline trails around Burton Island for lovely views of the lake and surrounding islands. Sunrises and sunsets are often vivid and dramatic. 
To learn about my surroundings & nerd out with nature  
Learn about the northern forest highlands around Brighton …

The Outdoor Observer: Birds Are Sneaking Back

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May 2018
By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator 

There is great comfort in busy flocks of Chickadees in winter woods. Calling, hopping, curious little flocks of small black and white friends is a rare view of vibrant life in the bleak winter landscape. It seems a miracle they survive the harsh northern New England winter. This winter seemed harsher and longer, and we find greater delight in arrivals of our summer residents, the migratory birds.

We mark spring by the first calls of Red-winged Blackbirds here, these are followed by Phoebes and other flycatchers. We watch carefully for thrushes, and the first warblers. Yesterday I saw a Loon in Silver Lake State Park. Birds are sneaking back.
Everyone in Vermont is itching to get out on trails as soon as snow is melting in the dooryard. It is mud season now, when trails are most fragile and feet make the greatest impact. There are still wonderful safe places to hike to spot some of these early migratory bird arrivals.
I went to M…

Classic blog: Finding wildflowers in spring

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Despite the (shall we say) variable conditions so far this month, it's exactly that time of year to head into the woods and look for growing things! Spring ephemerals are the first flowers you will find in the woods, and favor deciduous hardwood forests. They are usually not large but hardy, and well adapted to withstand cold and variable conditions of early spring. Ephemerals bloom early, often before the snow has completely gone, and complete their life cycle before the trees leaf out, taking full advantage of full sunlight on the forest floor and insulation provided by least years' leaves on the ground.

Here are some spring ephemerals to watch for, and suggestions on where to look: Hepatica: This tiny, fresh-smelling flower is one of the very first to appear in the woody areas in spring. Hepatica grows low to the ground and can be pink, white, purple, or blue. If you look closely, you will see that hepatica is furry! These tiny hairs on the stem are another protection from …