Vermont Parks and Historic Sites | Weekend magazine

On a sunny summer day, you can hear the ripples of Lake Bomoseen lapping at the edge of the sandy beach and the splashing of the children’s feet, and their joyful cries, as they cross the shallow waters. As the day draws to a close and families pack their bags to go home or return to their campsites for the evening, the common loons begin to call, and the distinctive sound hits us somewhere deep and wild, and maybe forgotten until now.

The lake and campground are part of Bomoseen State Park, a 3,576-acre park in Rutland County on the western shore of the lake, which is the largest lake entirely within the borders of Vermont. The park also includes a picnic area and pavilion, hiking trails, boat rentals, fishing and a snack bar, as well as 55 tent and motorhome sites and 10 lean-tos for accommodation. Before becoming a park, the area was used as a slate mine, so there are still several old quarries and piles of rubble to explore.

Bomoseen State Park is one of 55 state parks in Vermont, all of which become fully operational for the summer season on Memorial Day weekend. State parks are spread out and are as varied as the four corners they occupy – from the deep woods and deep calm of Maidstone State Park in the Northeast Kingdom, to the bustling activity of Boulder Beach in the Groton State Forest, from the spectacular waterfalls of Jamaica Falls State Park, to the great aquatic and island life of Burton Island State Park in St. Albans. What they all have in common are well-maintained facilities, serene settings for deep relaxation, and plenty of opportunities to connect with nature. And people are visiting in record numbers.

“Park usage is definitely on the rise,” says Rochelle Skinner, sales and service manager for Vermont State Parks. This is partly due to the move to a much more robust online reservation system several years ago. Skinner explains that someone can decide they want a waterfront campsite for a particular weekend anywhere in the state, and the new search engine will find it for them. Then, if there is nothing available, there is an alert system if a site becomes available. As usual, campers can also walk to available sites and, new this year, a one-night reservation is allowed to accommodate people with young children or newcomers to camping.

Beyond the best online system, Vermont state parks have seen more traffic especially during the pandemic because they are a safe place for people to recreate and hang out. Additionally, Skinner points out, Canadian visitors have been returning to the state in recent months, which has increased attendance at some of the northern state parks, in particular.

More and more people are buying season passes. Last year, Skinner says, season ticket sales broke records. They continue to be strong this year, and something new is that many employers are buying passes for their employees, including the Vermont Agency of Education, which bought 10,000 passes for employees to use this season.

Skinner says there are also free ways to access the parks, including borrowing passes from local libraries and the Venture Vermont Challenge, which operates like a state park scavenger hunt that allows participants to earn a free state park pass.

To prepare for all of these visitors, state park staff began working weeks in advance to prepare.

“From year to year, we never know where to start,” says Katherine Yoder, Burton Island State Park Superintendent. This is because there could be flooding, storm damage, or downed trees. And these virgin landscapes? When you visit a park and enjoy expansive green lawns, manicured gardens, clean beaches and roads, and debris-free campsites, “you can assume that every inch needs cleaning,” she said. . In fact, in her own park, she was mowing until 9:30 p.m. the day before our conversation.

In addition to the opening of Vermont State Parks, May 28 marks the opening of State Historic Sites for the 2022 season. These include the Bennington Battle Monument, Chimney Point, Hubbardton Battlefield, Mount Independence, and historic sites of President Calvin Coolidge and Senator Justin Morrill.

“There’s no better harbinger of summer than the opening weekend of our state historic sites,” said state historic preservation officer Laura V. Trieschmann. to the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “Our sites offer something for the whole family, like the special exhibit at President Calvin Coolidge’s State Historic Site that celebrates must-see Roaring Twenties fashions and fashions.”

This summer, the 150th birthday of President Calvin Coolidge, July 4, 2022, will be honored with a day of festivities and events. There will also be two other special exhibits at the Chimney Point State Historic Site called Crossing Paths and Point of Contact. These exhibits on the Native American, French Colonial, English, and American history of the Chimney Point area incorporate archaeological finds from the Lake Champlain Bridge project.

“One of Vermont’s best kept secrets are the miles of interpretive trails at our various sites that provide walking and picnicking opportunities on the hundreds of acres of unspoiled forest and farmland with stories unique to discover,” Trieschmann said in recent press. Release.

Hubbardton Battlefield features outdoor interpretive panels along their walking path that chronicle the pivotal points and key players in Vermont’s only Revolutionary War battle. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this facility, along with the other recreational activities at the state-owned historic sites, which include walking and hiking trails, bucolic historic landscapes and gardens, and lake views. Special offers throughout the season will include guided nature walks, lectures, concerts, photography workshops, craft classes and other events and activities.

This is a special time of year for historic sites and state parks in Vermont. “This time of year is fantastic,” says Yoder, who is in her seventh year at Burton Island State Park. “When I came here, there were bare trees, and now they are full of leaves. There are birds here now that weren’t there when I arrived. We get to see the whole turn of the seasons. We see this beautiful arc of nature.

To learn more about historic sites in Vermont, visit historicsites.vermont.gov online. Visit vtstateparks.com to learn more about Vermont state parks and get information on locations, passes and reservations, you can also view current openings for seasonal state park staff positions .