THE GREAT OUTDOORS: STATE PARKS
A PLACE TO PADDLE TO
WITH A HANDFUL OF REMOTE CAMPSITES ACCESSIBLE ONLY BY WATER, GREEN RIVER RESERVOIR MAY BE THE BEST-KEPT SECRET IN THE STATE.
With the longest undeveloped coastline in the state, more than 10 islands and 28 remote campsites, Green River Reservoir is a gem not to be missed. Photo by Thorin Magbie
t’s September. The state is crawling with leaf peepers. But you are a local, you know where to go to avoid the crowds, right? Well…. that’s why we are going to let you in on one of our favorite secret spots. In Hyde Park, just north of Morrisville, Green River Reservoir State Park is 5,113 acres of forests, rivers and wetlands. At its heart is the Green River Reservoir with 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline, the longest stretch of undeveloped shoreline in the state. A century ago, this area, often called “Lost Nation,” was home to extensive logging and five or more mills operated here, using wood dams for power. Eventually, the land became the property of the Morrisville Water and Light Department and the forests grew back. In 1999, the state purchased the 5,113 acres with an eye toward maintaining its pristine nature and beauty. So far, that’s worked, and if you go, we beg you to keep it beautiful, quiet and clean. The area remains hard to find and uncrowded. To get there, you have to travel 1.3 miles up a narrow dirt road and once the small parking lot fills up, you have to come back another day, limiting the numbers. Even better, the only way to get to the 28 campsites tucked onto its shores is to paddle. The area is designated as a “quiet” lake: Only motorized boats with engines under 5 hp are allowed. Also, no RVs, no car camping, no weddings and company picnics here. Of course, that means facilities are limited, all camping is carry-in, carry-out and you have to reserve a site. But those are small prices to pay for privacy, right? For more information, visit vtstateparks.com.
Reserve a Remote Campsite With just 28 remote campsites perched on the quiet shores the competition to book is tough. Some campsites book out 11 months ahead, but you can always check to see if there are cancellations by calling 802-
The reservoir is deemed a "quiet" park, meaning no motors over 5 hp. And the only way to a campsite is by boat. Photo by Jeremiah Johns
888-1349. You will need your own boat to reach them as some are a mile from the put-in at the south end of the reservoir. Campsites vary in size and the park likes to limit groups to 8 or less (though there is one group site that can take 12). There are composting toilets but all other waste must be carried out. Most sites and fire rings too but camp stoves are encouraged.
Explore the Islands and Ponds There are 10 larger islands in the reservoir, some with campsites on them and others with day-use picnic spots. Launch a canoe and paddle among them. Swim in the deep clear waters and then warm up on a warm rock on the shore. At this time of year, the surrounding forests of beech, red maple, sugar maple and yellow birch should be forming a kaleidoscope of color. Loons are common here and in the spring use many of the islands for nesting
sites so be careful not to disturb them. Don’t be surprised to hear beavers slap their tails on the water or to see a moose drinking on the far side of the reservoir. With few trails and much of the surrounding land undisturbed, you may also see an elusive fisher cat, ruffed grouse, bald eagles and other wildlife. If you bring a fishing rod, you stand a chance of catching small-mouth bass, yellow perch or, in the streams, brook trout. There are also a number of small ponds nearby, if you are up for a portage.
Make a Beer Run The park is half way between Morrisville and Craftsbury and close to some of the state’s best brewers, including Morrisville’s Lost Nation and Rock Art. Visit those breweries (Lost Nation also serves tasty sandwiches and specials) or head to the Bee’s Knees for exceptional, farmfresh fare and live music. —L.L.
Published on Sep 4, 2015