News Archive

VRC Helps Protect Bramhall Wilderness

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Vermont River Conservancy is proud to partner with the Northeast Wilderness Trust on their Bramhall Wilderness Preserve project, in which NWT purchased 359 acres from Paedra Bramhall last week, creating the first privately protected, forever-wild preserve in the Chateauguay No-Town Conservation Area. The Northeast Wilderness Trust is a non-profit land trust that conserves forever-wild landscapes for nature and people. The newly established Bramhall Wilderness Preserve is home to pristine cascading brooks, towering trees, and abundant wildlife. Protecting this land has been a long-time effort for landowner Paedra Bramhall, who was born in a rustic cabin on the property without running water or electricity in the 1940s. “The fact that this dream I have had most of my life is now a reality [for] the acres my mom left me—that they are now and will be forever wild—is still sinking in,” said Ms. Bramhall. Since Ms. Bramhall has left the land largely unmanaged for decades, the forest is already well on its way to returning to old-growth.

The Preserve lies just south of the Appalachian Trail as it winds its way down from the Green Mountains to the Connecticut River. Nearly two miles of waterways, including the North Branch of the Ottauquechee River and two smaller tributaries, tumble through the steep hills of the Preserve. Dense hemlocks shade the water, creating prime habitat for native brook trout. Vermont River Conservancy will work with the Northeast Wilderness Trust and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) on the permanent conservation of the land. VRC and VHCB will co-hold forever-wild legal protections on the preserve. “We are excited to partner with Northeast Wilderness Trust for the sake of public access to the rivers in the beautiful Bramhall Preserve,” says Lydia Menendez Parker, Assistant Director of VRC. “Low-impact recreational access paths from the parking pull-out will support those adventurers looking for a place to dip in the cool, refreshing waters and cast a line.” You can read the full press release here: News Release – New Wilderness Preserve Created in Bridgewater, VT

Mature forest – Daryl Burtnett

Ottauquechee Tributary – Shelby Perry

Announcing Summer Internship Opportunity!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Vermont River Conservancy, Montpelier, VT

Spend your summer at popular swimming holes in Central Vermont! Welcome visitors with a friendly and open attitude and simple survey questions; encourage safe and respectful behavior and leave-no-trace practices; improve site conditions with litter cleanup, parking patrol, and invasive species control; collect data to improve overall site management and water quality; engage volunteers and the public with media and outreach tools. Enjoy Central Vermont’s most beautiful rivers spots where hundreds of people come to enjoy the cool waters, chill vibes, and sweet surroundings. This position is part of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board AmeriCorps (VHCB AmeriCorps), and is in partnership with the Richmond Land Trust. Apply today! For more information, and how to apply, check out the job description here: VRC_Swimming Hole Steward Job Description.

Public Access Sites & COVID-19

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

The Governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” addendum to the Emergency Declaration still allows us to enjoy Vermont’s outdoors while staying close to home. This means that currently, VRC’s public access sites remain open for use, with the following considerations. Please also note that Spring weather and continued snow melt from the mountains mean that as usual, Spring is a time to practice extreme caution when visiting rivers. Water levels tend to be much higher and also tend to fluctuate rapidly. Be safe, pay attention to water levels, and please practice social distancing when recreating at or around Vermont’s rivers. Thank you!

Here are tips to recreate locally and stay safe outdoors during this public health emergency (the following message from The Vermont Department of Forest, Parks & Recreation):

Recreate locally: walk on your street or a local wood lot as opposed to hopping in the car to visit a favorite spot. If you must drive someplace, please limit the distance from home to ten miles, and only drive with members of your household. You can find information on local spots on http://www.Trailfinder.info and www.vtfishandwildlife.gov.

We do ask that you follow commonsense behaviors including honoring all signage, treating public areas with respect and giving people space at gathering points like parking areas and scenic overlooks, for example. Visitation and use will be monitored, with closures possible based on overcrowding or additional orders from health agencies. If a parking lot is full, or too many people are gathered at a location, please find an alternative place to recreate. 

Minimize risk to others: Go out only if you’re feeling healthy, have not been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and/or have not recently traveled from a location with a CDC-issued travel advisory.

Engage in low-risk activities: Now is not the time to try something extreme and end up in the hospital, taxing an already overburdened health care system.

Don’t crowd: Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting, including the outdoors. Outdoor crowding isn’t any better than indoor crowding. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean it’s safe unless you are continuing to practice appropriate social distancing, good personal hygiene, and avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands. This includes finding an alternative place to recreate if the area you choose is already crowded.

Please leash your dog! They are members of your household and need to keep their social distance as well (most standard leashes are 6 feet in length).

For more info on COVID-19 and related guidelines, visit: https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus

  • For outdoor recreation COVID-19 related links, visit:

https://fpr.vermont.gov/recreation/outdoor-recreation-and-covid-19.

  • For information on wildlife based recreational opportunities, visit:

https://vtfishandwildlife.com/

VRC welcomes Patrick Whelley to the Board!

Thursday, March 5th, 2020

I grew up in central New Hampshire, in the foothills of the White Mountains, where there were constant reminders of the abundance of wildlife (moose, deer, blue heron, beavers) living in and around the local brooks and marshes. Family canoe-camping trips on nearby rivers and lakes were exciting adventures and fond memories on the water. These were some of the pieces of the region that I missed the most after moving to Arizona for college.

At Arizona State I earned a bachelors and a masters in geology and then a PhD in geology from the University at Buffalo focusing on geological hazards, specifically explosive volcanoes. After graduating, some of my work focused on encouraging the use of language familiar to river hazards (100-year event, 500-year event) in the volcanology community. The goal was to overcome societal amnesia and convey clear and quantitative hazard probabilities.

These days, my family and I live on Wood Rd in Middlesex and my wife and I take our two boys (under 4) to paddle Vermont’s lakes and rivers whenever we can. I work remotely for the University of Maryland as a research scientist and NASA contractor. Through Maryland I write and manage research grants and lead NASA funded expeditions to the American West and Iceland, to study geology and astrobiology. I use detailed topography and 3D visualization tools to characterize geologic formations to better understand how they form and erode.

Wetland, Woodland, Wildland in VTDigger!

Monday, January 6th, 2020

VRC works to protect the important floodplains and riparian areas in Vermont, 80% of which is privately owned.  Learn more about the natural communities we protect with forever conservation easements in partnership with willing landowners by reading about our river ecosystems in Wetland, Woodland, Wildland.  We collaborate with the VT Agency of Natural Resources to use funding on targeted and high priority conservation projects, and the science in Wetland, Woodland, Wildland helps inform this important conservation strategy.  Read about the book and its authors in an article written by former VRC AmeriCorps Stewardship Intern, Elizabeth Gribkoff.  Then get out and explore the natural communities that make our little state so special!

https://vtdigger.org/2020/01/03/qa-20-years-later-wetland-woodland-wildland-authors-reflect-on-vermont-conservation/

Red Rocks Park in South Burlington on Tuesday, December 24, 2019. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Help Expand Public Access on the New Haven River

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

Please join us in expanding public access on the New Haven River.  With your support, we can add 14.7 acres to the Bristol Flats River Access Park for permanent floodplain protection, revegetation, and public access.

  • Protect water quality. This property floods almost yearly, and its floodplain vegetation actively filters and stores sediment, nutrients and organic matter from upstream sources. The revegetating floodplain forest slows the velocity of flood waters and reduces erosion during high-water events.  Because it isn’t planted in crops, less soil and nutrients are washed downstream during flood events.  Town acquisition of these 14.7 acres will ensure that the newly-established riparian forest is protected.
  • Expand public access to the New Haven River. Once acquired, this property will be forever protected for public access.  These lands will be merged with Bristol Flats River Access to the north – a day-use area that provides a point of entry to the New Haven River for fishing, kayaking/canoeing, bird-watching, horse-back riding, walking, and recreating. Together, the parcels comprise 54 acres of floodplain forest and 3,800 feet of frontage along the New Haven River.
  • Enhance wildlife corridors. Once acquired, the vital riparian habitat for birds, amphibians and mammals will be managed for and enhanced.

Please join us in realizing these goals by donating to the acquisition of the 14.7 acres of easement lands.  We only need $5,000 – and your contribution will be matched by a $5,000 donation from the Bristol Conservation Reserve Fund, together providing local match for grant funds secured from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.  Donate Today!

Kristen Underwood (Bristol Conservation Commission), Mark Martin (Vermont Housing and Conservation Board), Lydia M Parker (Vermont River Conservancy) along the cobble river shore

Youth Voices for Our Rivers: Second Video!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

When we set about making a “Youth Voices for Our Rivers” video series, we pledged not to script or edit what these children had to say. The result: videos that are poignant, insightful, and sometimes hilarious. Hope you enjoy hearing what Griffin loves about rivers.  Check it out here

Youth Voices for Vermont’s Rivers

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

In honor of Giving Tuesday, we are releasing the first of a series of youth voices videos. Please join the Vermont River Conservancy this giving season and help us with our critical work to leave clean, accessible rivers for our youth.

Call For Volunteers

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Help restore the Wild Branch of the Lamoille River!

Date: Oct 26th, 2019 (Rain or shine)

Time: 10 am

Location: 2526 N. Wolcott Rd.

A flood chute stabilization project was completed along the Wild Branch River in Wolcott in the spring of 2019. There are approximately 2 acres that were disturbed in the process. The Lamoille County Conservation District (LCCD) is seeking volunteers to plant conservation trees in the floodplain area to further stabilize the area and protect Wolcott Rd. from flood damage. Bring comfortable and warm outdoor clothes, boots and work gloves if you have them. LCCD will supply shovels and work gloves as well.

RSVP to Peter Danforth at 802-521-3004 or lccddirector@gmail.com if you wish to help. Thanks!

Confluence River Park Presentation 9/24

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

Do you wish there were more opportunities to get down to our rivers in Montpelier for fishing, boating, swimming or simply sitting and enjoying the water flowing by? Do you wonder what it would be like if rivers were incorporated more into Montpelier’s way of life? Do you want to hear more about the proposed Confluence River Park at the confluence of the North Branch and main stem of the Winooski River in downtown Montpelier? If so, please attend the Confluence River Park Final Conceptual Design Presentation on Tuesday, September 24th 7:30 – 9:00 pm at City Council Chambers in City Hall, hosted by the Vermont River Conservancy and the Landscape Architect and Engineer from Milone & MacBroom. No need to RSVP, but please email vrc@vermontriverconservancy.org with any questions.  And check out this page for more background information on the Confluence River Park. We hope to see you there!

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