News & Updates

WVPD in the News & Recent Articles

Williston Observer, January 7th, 2017:  http://www.willistonobserver.com/willistons-membership-in-parks-district-questioned/

Seven Days, August 9, 2017:  https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/a-funding-dispute-challenges-the-winooski-valley-park-district/Content?oid=7243273

Williston Observer, October 19th, 2017:  http://www.willistonobserver.com/park-district-makes-pitch-for-williston-land/

 


Updates & Current Happenings

Open Letter to our New North End Neighbors:

RE: Derway Cove, former Rivers End Marina

With the spring arriving, many are discovering changes at the former Rivers End Marina.  After more than 40 years of operation, and increasing challenges with siltation and flooding, the Bowlers chose to sell the property.

In August 2018, after more than a year putting together the transaction, the Bowler family sold the Rivers End Marina to the Winooski Valley Park District adding about 2.5 acres to the existing 148 acre Derway Island Natural Area.  It was a special privilege for us to get to know the Bowlers, learn the rich history of their tenure at the Marina, and build a relationship that we now treasure.

WVPD, a non-profit regional park agency operating on behalf of seven member towns (WVPD.org), is working closely with project partner Lake Champlain Land Trust which was instrumental in putting together the acquisition.  Funding acquired from Vermont Housing Conservation Board, Burlington Conservation Legacy Fund, and WVPD Capital reserves supported the purchase.  Demolition of the buildings and infrastructure is being funded by a FEMA grant, and park development is being funded by the Lake Champlain and its Tributaries Fund throw the Vermont Communities Foundation.

WVPD is not ready to fully open the park….and until the buildings are removed, we are faced with managing empty structures.  WVPD has given the fire department full permission to use the buildings for practicing forced entries, extremely helpful for their training needs, and an added a level of activity that helps protect the site against abuse.  We have also started hearing from neighbors who are the “eyes and ears” necessary for all of us to be effective stewards – please let us know if you witness any issues that we should know about, especially over the next few months while the buildings are still in place.

Meanwhile, the overall goal is to re-naturalize the shoreline while enhancing public access.  WVPD will be submitting a draft park design for zoning approval later this summer, and will post notices for public comment before the design is finalized.

Due to safety and structural concerns, the access road won’t be open until the buildings are removed and we have completed road repairs – but the public is welcome to walk the site and enjoy this amazing new asset.

We are now awaiting clearances for building demolition and removal of the concrete foundations.  The dock system will be removed and re-purposed elsewhere for a boardwalk.

In summary: Derway Cove, the newest addition to Derway Island Natural Area, will be cleared of structures and foundations, re-naturalized, opened to the public, and protected by a conservation easement.  Once fully operational, it will be open dawn to dusk, and available as a car top boating access, fishing spot, and a great addition to Derway Island Natural Area.

Thank you to all the neighbors, former marina customers, and others who have been helpful to the Bowlers during their transition.  Give us a call at 802-863-5744, drop a line to nickwarner@wvpd.org with any questions or concerns, or attend one of our monthly Trustee meetings (regularly held on the third Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm at the WVPD offices at the Ethan Allen Homestead).  We would also be happy to email you materials related to this amazing asset.

Best regards, Nick Warner, WVPD Executive Director


PARKS SUPERINTENDENT UPDATE: April 
Prepared by Tim Larned, Parks Superintendent

All crew members (3) from the 2018 season are coming back for 2019.   The Crew will be busy picking up trash at the parks, cleaning up the trails and green spaces, repairing trail washouts and repairing/resetting broken and uneven trail structures.  We will also be continuing to organize the garage, routing and replacing trail signage where necessary and building new canoe carts to replace the broken canoe carts at the Ethan Allen Homestead and Colchester Pond.

Other projects that we will be tackling to start the season include: Entrance gate repairs at Muddy Brook Wetland Reserve, installing routed “Private Property Beyond this Point” signage around Wolcott Family Natural Area to help delineate Park Boundaries and keep park users from accidentally encroaching on neighbors lands, installing a new entrance sign at Essex Overlook, and repairing potholes in many of our parking areas/access roads as we prepare to open the parks.

Some updates from the Homestead include: apple trees by the Ethan Allen House were pruned, we are exploring options to have the bathtub replaced at the Ethan Allen Homestead Caretaker house due to the old tub having a lead enamel glaze and a new Bottle Filler Water Fountain was installed in the hallway of the Ethan Allen Homestead Education Center/Museum.

We have worked with volunteers in various capacities over the winter and spring.  One volunteer who has been making a series of updated maps for many of our parks.  We intend on posting these online and in our info boards to replace some of the outdated maps we have been using.

Upcoming volunteer opportunities include multiple Riparian Tree Plantings in May and Green Up Day on May 4th.


AMERICORPS ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR UPDATE: April
Prepared by Juli Tyson, AmeriCorps Environmental Educator

Juli is currently leading three after school programs and continues to lead lessons with the second grade classroom in Winooski. They are focusing on birds and migration. She also has continued with the forest classroom in Jericho where they recently completed a biome activity with Juli and are now learning about weather.

Juli’s bird walks continue to garner interest, with every month bringing new and familiar faces. Saturday, April 13th, the walk will be held at Woodside Natural Area and we are expecting up to 20 people to come if the weather is nice. Juli also wants to continue these walks after her AmeriCorps service finishes on August 30th.


PROGRAMS DIRECTOR UPDATES: April
Prepared by Lauren Chicote, Program Director

Planning for S.O.L.E. Camp continues with developing new activities, finalizing schedules, and planning field trips. Interviews for camp counselor candidates will take place the week of April 15th. We will also be recruiting and selecting a new AmeriCorps member to serve as the Environmental Educator & Resource Specialist starting this fall.

WVPD’s 33rd Annual Conservation Field Day (CFD) is coming up on May 15th. We expect to have around 250 students attend this year, and have several new workshop leaders joining us. In addition to CFD, several tree plantings are scheduled with local schools including Essex Middle School as part of their annual service learning project unit, and CP Smith in Burlington. These plantings will be part of the Lake Champlain Basin Program grant WVPD received to support our service learning projects. Programs Director, Lauren Chicote, has been coordinating with the Intervale to secure trees, and Invasive experts from VT Forest Parks and Recreation to coordinate a service learning curriculum that will focus on riparian forest restoration through invasive management and tree plantings.