History/Civilian Conservation Corps
In the 1930's the CCC built quite of few of Vermont State Parks and you can see their work today over 70 years later. To see their work, visit the following parks: Allis, Coolidge, Crystal Lake, Elmore, Gifford Woods, Maidstone, Molly Stark, Mt. Ascutney, Mt. Philo, New Discovery, Ricker Pond, Sand Bar, Stillwater, Thetford Hills, Townshend, Underhill and Wilgus State Parks. Also see:
CCC in Vermont Parks & Forests
CCC in Vermont History
Two parks stand out in particular for horse camping: New Discovery State Park and Camp Plymouth. At New Discovery, there is a seven site horse camping area. The horse
camping area features a hitching post, water
spigot and trough for watering horses. Just up
the roadway, and past the toilet/shower area, is
a horse washing station. Other pets are allowed
at designated camp sites. There is also many miles of hiking on multiple use trails. Horse camping is also permitted at Camp Plymouth State Park where horses are allowed in the group camping area on
the south side of Buffalo Brook. The area
consists of six lean-tos, pit toilets, tie-off station,
manure “bin,” and a large field for activities. On
the north side of the brook is a large picnic area,
playground, sandy beach, horseshoe pits,
volleyball nets, concessions, and boat rentals. No animals are allowed elsewhere in the park.
Camp Plymouth is a place for people who
want to camp and then go elsewhere to ride.
While there isn’t a horse trail system in the
park itself, there are other areas close to the park
offering many trails. Nearby Hawk Mountain
Resort has a trail system
covering 1,200 acres at no charge to Camp
Plymouth campers. Also see:
Horse & Mule Trails in VT
Hawk Mountain Resort Trails
Mt. Ascutney State Park is one of the premier hang gliding locations in Vermont. Good ridge soaring, excellent thermal flying, and cross country flying. Many flights from Vermont to the Atlantic coast begin at this launch. Many New England pilots have their first cross-country flight from here to Morningside Flight Park, which is 9.8 miles downwind. Well known for its 1/3 mile hike to launch through the woods and rocks. Also see:
Vermont Hang Gliding Association
Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. There are geocaches all over Vermont State Parks. If you'd like to create your own cache in a state park, please see our Geocache Policy, then fill out our Geocache Request Form (pdf) and email or mail to the address on last pagee. Also see:
geocaching.com (free registration required)
Letterboxing is a simple, low-tech cousin to geocaching. It is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation and exploring interesting, scenic places.
Here's the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called "clues" or "the map"), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Selecting a location and writing the clues is one aspect of the art.
Once the clues are written, hunters in possession of the clues attempt to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunter should carry at least a pencil, his personal rubber stamp, an inkpad, and his personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, he stamps the logbook in the box with his personal stamp, and stamps his personal logbook with the box's stamp. The box's logbook keeps a record of all its visitors, and the hunters keep a record of all the boxes they have found, in their personal logbooks. There are letterboxes placed in all across the state in Vermont State Parks. Also see:
Like a statewide, outdoor adventure scavenger hunt. You download a score sheet and do fun outdoor activities. You document your activities by taking photographs and sometimes by doing artwork or writing a poem, etc. Once you reach 250 points, you send in your score sheet and photographs, and you will receive a Venture Vermont Gold Coin, which will give you free state park day use entry for all of the current season and all of the next. Also see:
Use of metal detectors is a hobby for many, and can be a benefit to a park, in that
finding and removing metal objects from beaches, parking areas, and campsites helps
prevent injury and/or damage to vehicles and equipment. The downside is that many
parks are located in areas of historic and archeological significance and removing
artifacts from state land is against the law. Also, the accompanying digging (when an
object is found) can disturb turf areas and/or rare or fragile plant and animal
Metal detecting is permitted with conditions:
- Only in areas previously disturbed by park development (constructed
beaches, roads, parking lots, campsites, etc.)
- Other areas must first be approved by the Commissioner of Forests and
Parks, in consultation with the Division for Historic Preservation.
- Must report to Park Staff before metal detecting. (Suggest you record
name/address/phone for follow-up, should that become necessary).
- Disturbed areas shall be restored to their original state.
Artifacts of historical significance are property of the State and must be
surrendered immediately, along with any information as to the location
of the find.
- Probing in permitted areas only with a hand tool, to a maximum depth of three inches.
- Use prohibited in areas of obvious historical significance (stonewalls,
cellar holes, etc.).
- User agrees to pick up and properly dispose of all items found, even if
trash (bottle caps, pull-tabs, etc.).
Metal Detecting World
You're probably familiar with the famous California Gold Rush, but how many know that one occurred in Plymouth, Vermont? Farmers discovered placer gold in Broad Brook and for a time gave up their farming to pan for gold. Canny Yankees that they were, they soon calculated that they weren't really earning more money than they had from farming, and the Vermont Gold Rush was over. Gold can still be panned from Broad Brook today. Camp Plymouth state park is a favorite location for gold panners in the parks. Mechanical devices such as sluices are not permitted on state lands, only traditional hand panning methods are permitted. Also see:
Gold in Vermont
Snowkiting is an outdoor winter sport where people use kite power to glide on snow or ice. It's similar to kitesurfing. Snowkiting differs from other alpine sports in that it is possible for the snowkiter to travel uphill and downhill with any wind direction. Snowkiting is becoming increasingly popular in places often associated with skiing and snowboarding - like Vermont. Sand Bar State Park is a popular location for snowkiting. Also see:
Winter camping can be a blast - snowshoeing or skiing into your campsite. While not for everyone, the hearty adventures will find a winter wonderland in Vermont State Parks during the winter. Off season camping is permitted free of charge, we just ask you submit a request in advance. Also see:
Off Season Camping in Vermont State Parks