Vermont Days Weekend brings free admission, vaccine clinics to state parks

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MILTON, Vt. – With 1,367 vaccinations separating Vermont from Governor Phil Scott’s 80 percent goal to lift COVID-19 restrictions, Vermont State Parks could help push Vermont across the finish line.

This weekend is Vermont Days Weekend, an annual celebration of the arrival of summer and an opportunity to explore Vermont’s fishing, state parks and historic culture. Along with free admission to all state parks, 18 parks will be hosting free walk-in vaccine clinics as Vermont inches toward Governor Scott’s goal.

“One of the nicest things about Vermont State Parks is that there’s 55 of them, and pretty much anywhere you live, there’s probably one within a half-hour drive,” said Agnes Barsalow, a regional operations manager with Vermont State Parks.

A full schedule for state park vaccine clinics is listed below:

Saturday, June 12

  • Emerald Lake State Park, East Dorset – 3:00pm to 5:00pm
  • Alburgh Dunes State Park, Alburgh – 11:00am to 3:00pm
  • Boulder Beach State Park, Groton – 11:00am to 2:00pm
  • Carmi State Park, Enosburg Falls – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Jamaica State Park, Jamaica – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Silver Lake State Park, Barnard – 10:00am to 12:00pm
  • Waterbury Center State Park, Waterbury – 10:00am to 2:00pm

Sunday, June 13

  • Bomoseen State Park, Castleton – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Branbury State Park, Brandon – 11:00am to 2:00pm
  • Camp Plymouth State Park, Ludlow – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Crystal Lake State Park, Barton – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Elmore State Park, Elmore – 10:00am to 2:00pm
  • Grand Isle State Park, Grand Isle – 1:30pm to 3:00pm
  • Kill Kare State Park, St. Albans – 11:00am to 1:00pm
  • Lake St. Catherine State Park, Poultney – 11:30am to 1:30pm
  • Quechee State Park, Hartford – 9:00am to 11:00am
  • Sand Bar State Park, Milton – 10:30am to 12:30pm

Barsalow said it’s been quite a turnaround from 2020 at state parks, with attendance meeting or exceeding 2019 numbers at most locations.

“This time last year, we weren’t even operating,” Barsalow said. “So, to be able to open and get closer to that 80 percent is great, and it’s an opportunity. We’ve got people coming into the parks, so might as well feed two birds with one seed.”

This weekend marks a return of sorts for recreation as usual at state parks, and the beginning of a summer filled with boating, camping, swimming, hiking and other activities that were sorely missed last year.

“This summer, we’re doing boat rentals again, that was something we couldn’t do last season,” Barsalow said. “Our interpretive programs are back on, that’s a huge draw for a lot of people. Our cabin rentals are available again, as are our cottage rentals.”

The question is – will the state park clinics and the 18 other clinics happening around Vermont this weekend finally push us across the 80 percent finish line for vaccinations?

“Really almost anywhere in the state you can think of will be holding clinics, and pharmacies as well,” Dolan said. “We are a rounding error away from 80 percent, so we’re crossing our fingers that this weekend is it.”

As part of Vermont Days weekend, you can also fish without a fishing license on Saturday, and visit the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier for free.

“Vermont Days is a great opportunity to get out and explore the state, especially this year when we are all looking forward to spending time with friends and family again,” said Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Heather Pelham. “This weekend also invites people to try something new and discover the amazing experiences available at our State Historic Sites and State Parks.  We hope those Vermonters who have yet to get vaccinated, will consider visiting a pop-clinic during their outdoor adventures this weekend.”

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