How Vermont campgrounds are holding up during this soggy summer

Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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GRAND ISLE, Vt. (WCAX) - Like most campgrounds across the state, Grand Isle State Park has seen more rain than sun this summer.

“We booked the sites, I think it was back in early March, and we didn’t realize this summer was going to be as wet as it has been,” said Kevin Chamberlain of Grand Isle.

Chamberlain waited all summer to camp with a group of friends from New Hampshire. Swimming, campfires and biking were at the top of their to-do list. Then the rain came.

“I was up at four and laying there, and all of a sudden, it started raining. And we wanted to do biking, and eh, I don’t think we’re gonna go too far today,” said Buster Getty of Grand Isle.

At Grand Isle State Park, the drizzle has brought droves of mosquitoes and driven campers to take shelter in lean-tos.

Park manager Drew Harrington says they’ve closed up to five campsites at a time due to flooding.

Other campgrounds have fared similarly or gotten even more rainfall. In July, campers at Bomoseen State Park found themselves bracing for severe weather in Addison County.

“Some of our fire pits ended up in water,” said Cliff Kenyon of Brandon. “We actually were out in a tent the night the tornado touched down in Benson.”

Despite the rainfall, Vermont’s camping rates only dipped slightly. And at popular campgrounds like Grand Isle State Park, the numbers actually increased.

“These are reservations people have had for months at a time sometimes, so they’re trips people really look forward to and want to make it work rain or shine,” Harrington said.

Park officials say day entries for activities like hiking and fishing took the biggest hit, decreasing by 20% statewide.

With 29 state parks open until October, staffers hope to recoup the losses this fall in drier conditions.

For anyone looking to brave the rain, experts recommend packing bug spray, waterproof clothing, multiple tarps and boards to stick under vehicle wheels to avoid getting stuck in the mud.