HOW TO SAFELY USE WVPD PARKS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC:
- Starting August 1, 2020 per the State of Vermont Mask Mandate all visitors to WVPD parks will be required to wear a mask or cloth facial covering any time where they come in contact with others from outside their households, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.
- Maintain at least a six-foot (6’) physical distance from other people in the park as recommended by the CDC
- Please stay home if you or members of your household are feeling unwell
- Keep your dog(s) on a leash at all times and avoid touching and interacting other people’s dogs (they are members of the household and must follow physical and social distancing as well)
- Avoid touching structures such as fences, sign posts, information boards, picnic tables, gates and railings
- Wash hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Carry hand sanitizer with you while visiting parks
- Pick up your trash and properly remove it from the park to help protect our staff. Please pick up, bag, and properly dispose of your dog’s waste
- Restroom facilities are closed
- Bring your own water
The WVPD acknowledges this is a fluid and constantly evolving situation. While WVPD parks currently remain open, we are closely following and will adhere to recommendations set forth by the CDC, Vermont Department of Health, along with state and local officials. We will strive to keep our parks open as long as possible, but need the public’s help to ensure they remain a safe space for everyone. Please observe and follow all signage posted in the parks and all other public recreation areas.
Posted March 27, 2020; updated July 31, 2020
Colchester Pond is an exciting spot to visit year-round. In early spring you’ll find an abundance of wildflowers including yellow Dutchmen’s britches and purple trout lily along the 3.5-mile trail that encircles the pond. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing paddle in the summer, and catch the amazing colors of autumn foliage. The pond is a favorite spot for fishing year round, with many anglers ice fishing in the winter.
This natural area has been designated an Important Birding Area (IBA) by the Vermont Audubon. Currently, several shrubland restorations and management projects are taking place to improve and manage habitat for songbirds. The pond is a natural pond that was enlarged by a manmade dam in the mid-1900s is a mile in length and covers 182 acres, about a quarter of the park property.
In addition to anglers, bird watchers, hikers, canoeists and kayakers, the pond is visited by many water birds, including Canada goose, mallard, great blue heron, Virginia rail, and the uncommon American bittern. Beavers also frequent the pond, so remember to bring your binoculars!
Barbed wire fences and stonewalls scattered throughout the forest indicate that much of the property was pasture at one time. Other signs of past human land use include an overgrown apple orchard at the northwest corner of the property, and an abundance of early successional trees such as bigtooth aspen, throughout the forest from past timber harvesting.
An aspect of Colchester Pond that sets it apart from other WVPD parks is its situation within a large tract of contiguous forest, extending from Indian Brook Reservoir in Essex to the Milton Town Forest. It is the only WVPD property where definite signs of bobcat and moose, two wide-ranging mammals, have been found. In all, 111 vertebrate wildlife species have been documented at Colchester Pond.
The WVPD asks for park users to please remain on the designated marked trails and to keep pets on a leash at all times while enjoying Colchester Pond! These efforts practiced by all help to maintain the natural integrity of the park for the many species of wildlife that it supports.
Enlarged Image of trail map: Colchester Pond Trail Map