Showing posts from May, 2015

It's Miller Time 2015: Guest Bloggers Brian and Lori Miller Explore Groton

Once again the season is upon us to get outside and hike, bike, camp, fish, swim, and just enjoy the outdoors. It’s a short but sweet season in Vermont, all the more appreciated after the long, sometimes endless seeming winter we just had. This year our family is continuing our quest to visit all of the state parks in Vermont.  The adventure started three years ago with a weekend camping trip to Grand Isle State Park. Our kids, who were four and two at the time, enjoyed sleeping in the tent, sitting around the campfire, and of course, roasting marshmallows (very closely supervised).  They have grown a lot in two years and now they are both biking around the campgrounds! It’s true what people say about kids growing up fast! Last year we enjoyed a weekend at Groton state forest. We camped at Ricker pond and swam at Boulder Beach. Boulder is definitely one of the nicest beaches we have seen so far; there is lovely grass, rocks to climb on, a playground, and a great beach. We highly re

Parks Prescription Program is now in effect!

Following doctor’s orders is about to get more fun thanks to a new initiative announced today by Gov. Peter Shumlin. Under the new “Park Prescription” program, physicians around the state will prescribe their patients time outdoors in Vermont State Parks as a way to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic health issues—and we couldn’t be happier! Here’s how it works: sixteen doctors’ offices around Vermont will issue Park Prescriptions, which will entitle patients to free entry at any Vermont State Park. The program is a partnership between the Vermont State Parks, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports , the Department of Health, and physicians across the state. “We all know that the one of the best ways to stay healthy is to stay active,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Luckily we live in Vermont and are surrounded by natural resources that make staying active easy and fun. So listen to your doctor and get outside this summer!”  The American Heart Asso

FREE DANDELIONS at Vermont State Parks!

Spring is a wonderful time of year: we’re reminded once again that color exists in the world, that one day soon we won’t even need a sweater outside, and that diving into a lake will soon be possible without personal injury. Spring also brings a fresh onslaught of what many gardeners label a horror, a pestilence, and a darn tough weed…dandelions. Dandelions are just about everywhere, covering every field in our lovely Vermont State Parks , and most likely your yard. What you might not know is that Dandelions aren’t actually indigenous— they were brought over from Europe and Asia specifically for their medicinal benefits .  So before you try and rip them all up or spray them with dandy-killer, there are several alternatives that you can consider, all of which provide numerous health benefits .  Eat Your Vegetables Dandelion greens have been a long-time summer salad accent, and at 25 calories per cup, they pack a serious punch of vitamins and minerals . They provide ov

For a Native Floridian, Vermont is a visit to Bizarro World

This piece is by Mark Hinson, a popular Florida writer and appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper. I am a fifth-generation native Floridian, so I'm used to living in a gorgeous state where people trash the joint and treat it like a rented car. In Florida, we use sinkholes as God's natural graves for old cars and dead refrigerators. A sand dune always looks better with a high-rise condominium on it. Let's go ahead and frack the aquifer because, you know, you can always go out and buy a new fresh-water aquifer. Vermont view The perfect metaphor for Florida is Walt Disney World, which paved over a natural swamp and wetland to build an amusement park and a fake version of an African savanna. "Don't Save It, Pave It," should be the motto of my beloved, crazy, self-hating state. That is why it was such a culture shock when my wife and I spent a solid week in Vermont earlier this month. We stayed with our close friends, Steve and Kim, who moved

Behind the Scenes at 2015 Ranger Training

People tell us all the time how wonderful our staff is, and we thought that this week we’d give you a behind-the-scenes look into what being a member of our staff means. For those of you who weren’t aware, this past week was 2015 Vermont State Parks Ranger Training, a rigorous 3-day event during which your Park Rangers learn everything from “Conservation Awareness” to “Equipment Maintenance.” Rangers were expected to Relax, Participate, and Communicate throughout their training in order to learn how to better Observe, Interpret, and Protect in the parks. The purpose of this intensive and hands-on learning is to get all of your Rangers on the same page before the summer rush begins: to prepare them for your arrival and everything that entails! I was lucky enough to go along for the ride, and here’s a brief glimpse into what our Rangers went through in just a few days: Tuesday   Rangers old and new flooded the training venue, picked up their name badges, and were introduced to

2015 Firewood Update - Buy Local, Burn Local

It’s time to dust off your sleeping bag, fold up your tent, and pack up that camp kitchen!  All Vermont State Parks will be open soon and we can’t wait to see you, whether you plan on swimming, toasting marshmallows, or just enjoying your great escape.    As you prepare for your outdoor adventures, there is one thing you should leave off your packing checklist: firewood.  Bringing firewood from home can endanger the beauty of your favorite camping spots by unknowingly introducing tree diseases and insect pests when you move firewood around in your travels. What can you do? Please don’t bring firewood with you—buy local, burn local. You already carefully extinguish your campfire, clean up your campsite, and recycle your trash, and now we are encouraging you to be a conscientious camper when it comes to firewood.  Rules regulating the importation of untreated firewood into Vermont will be adopted in 2015.  Spread the word! Dry firewood is available for sale at your