Tucked away between Mount Mansfield State Forest and Route 100 is the 850-acre Waterbury Reservoir. Accessible by Little River State Park to the west and Waterbury Center State Park to the east, Waterbury Reservoir is Vermont’s ninth largest body of water (the largest body of water within Vermont is Harriman Reservoir).
The reservoir was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s as a flood control project to protect communities along Vermont’s Winooski River.
It’s hard to imagine now, but the reservoir was drained ten years ago so engineers could make extensive repairs to the dam that holds back the Little River. When the water level was lowered by 40 feet in 2000, Waterbury Center State Park was left without water. Little River State Park fared better with some water remaining, but not as much as before.
The reservoir’s water level eventually returned to normal, allowing Waterbury State Park to reopen in 2007 after being closed for seven years.
The season for camping and swimming is upon us (finally!), so take note: Little River State Park is open mid-May to Columbus Day Weekend and is a popular camping site. Waterbury State Park, open Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day, is open for day use.
For more information, visit www.vtstateparks.com.