Maple Recipes To Sweeten Your Next Camping Trip

This upcoming weekend (March 24-25th) is Vermont’s annual Maple Open House Weekend, a chance to visit a working sugar house, observe & learn about the process in person, and of course sample some sweet maple treats. If you’re looking for some easy camp recipes to try with all that fresh syrup you come home with, we’ve got you covered, from breakfast through dessert.

Breakfast: Classic Flapjacks
While camping, THE classic breakfast recipe is pancakes cooked on the griddle over a campfire after waking up in the fresh air & getting ready for a busy day. A filling, delicious meal is called for, and pancakes are a great choice. The basic mix is simple and can be made ahead of time, but the recipe can be personalized however you feel like. Add berries or other fruit, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, or whatever else you can dream up. A good flipping technique is also important…no one likes burned flapjacks!
When your ‘cake is finished, drizzle (or smother) with syrup an…

The Groton State Forest: A Winter Playground For All Ages

Many know and love the 27,000-acre Groton State Forest as a summer destination, returning year after year for camping, swimming, hiking, nature walks, biking, horseback riding, and more. As the season wears on, nights turn from crisp to cold, crowds at the beach disperse, and the last campers return home for the season as leaves turn from green to gold and orange. And so, by the time winter brings fresh snowfall to the forest, few people (and critters) that live there year-round are there to see. The landscape is less lush, of course, but with its’ own stark beauty. If you haven’t had experienced a winter Groton adventure yet, it’s definitely worth a trip.

Travelling on a warm day in February with my snowshoes and no particular destination in mind, this was my first winter foray- and to be honest I was slightly skeptical about visiting “off-season”. I have been camping at Ricker Pond since I was small and have many fond memories of days at the beach, campfires, and so on. In my memorie…

Registration Now Open For Becoming An Outdoor Family Weekend At Stillwater State Park

Registration is now open for the 21st annual Becoming an Outdoor Family weekend, taking place June 1-3rd, 2018, at Stillwater State Park in the Groton State Forest.

This is a weekend for your family to enjoy a weekend together in a relaxed setting, while learning outdoor and camping skills at a variety of workshops geared for all ages, held by expert instructors. There is also built-in time for breaks & relaxation.
Classes are wide-ranging and offered on topics like natural history, camp cooking, sports and outdoor activities like boating and hiking. This year’s new course offerings include outdoor yoga, kayaking, basic navigation skills, and knot tying.
Stillwater State Park sits on Lake Groton and is one of the most popular parks in the 27,000-acre Groton State Forest. The park has 19 lean-to and 58 tent/ trailer sites, restrooms with coin-operated showers, a small campers’ beach for swimming, boat launch, playground, and small picnic shelter. The Groton State Forest area is a fa…

Sand Bar State Park Is Seeking Food Trucks And Ice Cream Vendors For Summer 2018!

The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation is seeking food truck operators and an ice cream concessionaire at Sand Bar State Park.
Introduction and Background Sand Bar State Park hosts between 40,000-50,000 visitors each season. On peak weekend days, the park often hosts several hundred people sunbathing on the beach. Food concessions have historically operated 7 days a week from a building in the park or a seasonal trailer parked all summer in one location for the duration of the summer season.  In 2017, the State experimented with a new food concession model using various food trucks on peak weekends, mid-June to mid-August and a seasonal ice cream concession, Friday-Sunday and holidays, mid-June through Labor Day.
How it will work:
Food Trucks:  The State will make space available for one food truck (non-ice cream products) to operate in a prominent location in the park per weekend. Due to complexity of scheduling and other …

Nature Journaling

By Rebecca Roy, Conservation Education Coordinator 
This is an exciting time of year. These late February days bring ten and a half hours of daylight in Vermont, and the sun feels warmer. Resident birds are singing their springtime calls, and the air smells a little bit muddy. March is usually a snowy month in Vermont, so we are patient for flowers and true spring, but early signs are all around us.
Nature journaling is a fun way to capture these signs of changing seasons. My little daughter and I have kept a nature journal for the past few years, and it is fun to look back on things we observed in past Februaries, and compare them to things we see today.
It is also fun to look back and read about summer camping trips during cold winter months. Our nature journal reminds us of the details of our experiences we might otherwise not quite remember. We enjoy looking back and remembering the worms we dug before fishing at Boulder Beach State Park, or the very first time my daughter was b…

Fire Tower Romance (Classic Blog)

In honor of Valentine's Day, we are re-posting this piece from the summer of 2016, about a fire tower romance, with Elmore State Park serving as the picturesque backdrop. 

The town of Lake Elmore, home to Elmore State Park, bills itself as “the beauty spot of Vermont”. It certainly a lovely place- the lake is clear and cold, and the popular hike up Elmore Mountain offers spectacular views of the lake, valley, and surrounding hills, including Mt. Mansfield. It’s also occasionally a hot spot for romance. We recently received an email from a woman named Krystal, who had good news for us.
“Yesterday my boyfriend Joshua, (now fiancĂ©!!!) proposed to me! I'm so thrilled and wanted to share our story with you!
Early on in our relationship we began hiking in Vermont. We have so many incredible memories from hiking and many pictures documenting it!
We had talked about starting our hiking season back up and when we finally had a day off together we decided on Saturday that we would go to Mou…

Fat Biking On State Lands

Fat biking (or winter biking) has exploded in popularity in the past few years. Would you like to try it, or explore some new trails you haven’t yet? Here’s your chance!  
In 2015, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation has launched a pilot program for designated fat bike trails on state lands. Locations for the program have been determined by state land managers, representatives from VAST and VMBA, and fat bike users. The If you have any questions about this fat bike pilot project, please contact Jessica Savage, Recreation Program Manager at The season for fat biking will run from December 16th, 2017 to April 15th, 2018.
Fat biking is a great workout and a fun way to spend time outside in winter. If you want some fresh air and can't ski or snowboard but know how to ride a bike, this might become your new favorite activity. 
Don’t own a fat bike? You can rent one from Fat Bike Vermont, located at Alpine Bike Works in Killington. And before you he…