1st Park of the Year to Open! - Wilgus State Park

At dusk, the squirrels glide
from the chimney
Wilgus State Park located in Ascutney, Vermont (1.5 miles south on Rt. 5 from exit 8 on I-91) has a number of unique offerings that many visitors might not know - river trips, a nature observation platform, cabins, boat rentals, quiet picnic spots, regular flying squirrel performances, and a rich history. Dating back to 1933, Wilgus State Park began, as many state parks, with a donation of land from Colonel and Mrs. Wilgus. The park is roughly 89 acres - 30 of which are along the Connecticut River. The history of Wilgus and especially the Civilian Conservation Corps' (CCC) involvement attracted the interest of author Judith Edwards. Her recently published book, Invasion on the Mountain: The Adventures of Will Ryan and the Civilian Conservation Corps, focuses on the CCC's role in creating the infrastructure still used today in Wilgus State Park. Judith will present on her book in Wilgus State Park, Sunday, August 21st at 2PM.

Something that visitors don't usually believe until they see are the ever popular flying squirrel performances. Each night, visitors and staff stand in awe at these furry critters who glide from the chimney to surrounding trees. They perform rain or shine! Make sure you ask the rangers about this must-see feature!

For the adventuresome, Wilgus provides many outdoorsy activities ranging from paddling to hiking. Even if you don't have your own canoe or kayak, you can rent boats from the park or use North Star Canoe Rentals which provides a shuttle service (and equipment) from the park to an upriver destination drop-off. Then, paddle back to the park and enjoy a night of campfire stories and camping. Being next to the Connecticut River, who could ask for better camping with the sounds of the river in the background to help you fall asleep each night.

Otter Cabin
Visitors and staff anxiously are awaiting the construction of two more cabins, similar to Otter and Mink cabins in Wilgus. Both new cabins will have great waterviews to the river. They should be completed sometime mid-summer. Call the reservation center 888-409-7579 for more information in a few weeks.
Another interesting part of Wilgus is the staff. All of the staff (rangers, attendants, and volunteers) are veteran Wilgus workers. Ranger Eric Hanson claims that because of all the returning green thumbs, Wilgus' "gardens will be even bigger and more beautiful than last year." Something to make sure you check out when you visit this season.

Unlike the bigger parks, Wilgus provides visitors and campers with hidden, quiet getaway spots, perfect for picnicking, reading, or just sitting with a friend. Eric enjoys paddling upriver to many quiet islands on the Connecticut River to enjoy a day off.

Eric always looks forward to seeing familiar faces and old friends at Wilgus State Park, but it's exciting also for him to see new people as they discover this quieter park on the river. We hope that you'll check out this park the next time you are near Ascutney, and be sure to say a warm hello to Ranger Eric Hanson while you're there. Click here for the operating season of Wilgus and other Vermont State Parks.


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