Dear Friend,

While our time in Vermont’s state parks may have been a bit different this year, hearing laughter, smelling campfires, and seeing the changing leaves all remained the same. I am so thankful that the parks were open this year when we needed them most!  

I also remain thankful for YOU.  Vermont Parks Forever supporters and the work we do together inspires me every day. Read on for a few uplifting stories from the many park visits your support made possible this park season.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving,

Sarah Alberghini Winters
Executive Director

p.s. In this time of thanksgiving, we can all spread our gratefulness.  Submit your message of appreciation for our state parks here and we’ll highlight it on social media in the coming days!

Stories of Gratitude from Time in the Parks
Through the Park Access Program at VPF
“I Feel Alive Again!”

Once again this year, Vermont Parks Forever teamed up with the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association to offer adaptive kayaking to Vermonters with disabilities. According to Program Director Cathy Webster, “Many kayakers use power wheelchairs to move about on land, and for the first time ever, or since their injury, were able to propel themselves independently across the water using adaptive equipment. Participants improved their physical strength and endurance, learned/relearned a new sport, viewed wildlife, paddled alongside friends and family, and established a sense of community.  The best part was seeing so many smiling faces and participants’ sense of accomplishment. Thank you! ”

Two people enjoying time on the water in adaptive kayaks"Learning how to go adaptive kayaking this summer was a highlight for my girlfriend and I. Vermont Parks Forever allowing us the free access to do this was a piece of the puzzle coming together for us. Cathy Webster and the NDAA was the other piece of the puzzle. We are forever grateful and excited for many more summers to come.”

Woman using an adaptive kayak

"I feel alive again!”
Taking Care in High-Stress Times
New this park season, essential workers in United Way of Northwest Vermont's Working Bridges Initiative were able to visit Vermont State Parks with passes donated through the Vermont Parks Forever's Park Access Fund. Connie Beal, Working Bridges Initiative Director explains “In mid-March, when COVID-19 impacted business operations for many Vermont companies, nearly all the Working Bridges employer partners remained open and operating as ‘essential workplaces.’ The disparate impacts of COVID-19 on people of color, women, and essential workers became more evident as the pandemic continued.

The Park Access Fund helped essential workers faced with ‘pandemic fatigue’ access Vermont’s State Parks for free. Recreating outdoors with family and friends became a ‘getaway’ for many employees that needed the opportunity to feel safe, to break isolation, to feel energized, and to see that the parks are a way they can take care of themselves in high-stress times.

Two essential workers share their park stories:

“We took a walk on the trails at Elmore State Park and then enjoyed the lake. It was just what I needed to recharge for the return to my healthcare setting during a pandemic. Thank you for supporting us with the pass which motivated me to get out there!”  ~ an employee in the healthcare industry
a family enjoys a hike in Mt. Philo State Park
“We had a great time using our park pass at Mt. Philo. It was a windy day –but we always enjoy a good hike! Thank you so much for having these passes available!
~ Working Bridges participant

The Gift of Vermont State Parks for Vermont’s Foster Familiestwo children wading in the lake

Over the past 5 years Vermont Parks Forever and our wonderful donors have helped over 600 foster families visit the state parks!

As a Foster Care Manager put it, “Outdoor activities are so important for the well-being of our children. Climbing trees, bird watching, playing in the sand and water, kayaking, and hiking are just some of the things families enjoyed at the parks.  Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity for the children in the custody of the state of Vermont!”
a fern shaped like a heartSupporting the Parks We Love

We’re excited to welcome the 9000 state park enthusiasts who joined this community of park supporters by adding a donation during their online camping reservation this year.

We are grateful for everyone’s support and hope you get a chance to visit a Vermont State Park soon!

PC: VPF Staff at Mt. Philo State Park
Looking for a Thanksgiving tribute or special gift
this holiday season?

VPF sticker in the snow
  • Make a gift to VPF in honor of someone you care about and we’ll be sure to send them a handwritten card acknowledging your thoughtfulness!
  • Send a park print from Common Deer and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to VPF!
  • Buy a gift certificate for time in a Vermont State Park!
Happy Holidays!

Vermont Parks Forever was founded in 2013 to enhance and protect Vermont State Parks through charitable support. VPF provides innovative nature education opportunities in the parks, increases access to parks for underserved communities, and inspires stewardship of Vermont’s natural places.

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Vermont Parks Forever
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Montpelier, VT 05601

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