New Discovery State Park is located in Marshfield, Vermont and is vast part of the 28,000 acre Groton State Forest. The rocky hillsides were formerly covered in spruce, hemlock, beech, white pine, and birch. Since the ground was too rocky to grow produce, farmers logged most of the trees for lumber, potash, and fuel, particularly during the construction of the railroad. While logging is still vital in this area, the public’s demand for recreational areas has allowed for restoration of the lands. Seasonal homes and private cottages are available for use, as are facilities and amenities for outdoor recreation.
Groton Forest is the second largest forest in the state of Vermont. In the 1700s, Native Americans and the French used routes throughout Groton to travel to and from Massachusetts and Canada. This area of Vermont was colonized by settlers early on due to the accessibility of its waterways. The forest back then was far different from the way it is now, colonists often wrote of mountain lions, lynx, and timber wolves that roamed through it.
New Discovery State Park has 46 sites for tents, trailers, and RV’s, as well as 15 sites for lean-to’s. Seven of these sites can accommodate horses. A group camping area has a hitching post, water spigot, trough, and horse washing station. Other campsites are designated to allow for other pets as well. All restrooms include hot showers and a sanitary dump station is available. Cabins are also available for those who may not want to sleep on the forest floor. There are also playgrounds, horseshoe pits, a picnic and pavilion, fishing pond, and miles of hiking trails.
For remote camping, Osmore Pond is an excellent location which can only be accessed by foot or boat. Canoeing is a favorite way for many to get there. Osmore Pond is a great area to relax and picnic. A hike up to the top of Owl’s Head will offer an amazing view of Kettle Pond, Groton Lake, and Camel’s Hump which is one of Vermont’s most photographed landscapes.
Horseback trails at the park include the VAST Trails and the Montpelier-Wells River Rail Trail. Other roads are gravel-surfaced and for logging, many of which were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. The entrance to the park, as well as the Kettle Pond parking area, and public boat launch at Ricker Pond offer areas to trailer horses for the day. The Montpelier-Wells River Rail Trail, as well as the many forest and town roads can be easily accessed from any of these locations. New Discovery State Park boasts 17 miles of hiking trails and 20 miles of gravel roads and multi-use roads for horseback riding and mountain biking. The VAST Trails are also teeming with skiers, snowmobile riders, and even dogsleds during the winter season.
The Groton State Forest offers many other facilities including a nature center, complete with information regarding the landscape, wildlife, and plants of the park, Boulder Beach State Park for swimming and picnicking, Seyon Ranch State Park for fly fishing, Peacham Bog for nature study, and many more. This expansive forest is home to many lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and other natural habitats.
New Discovery State Park is open for day use from 10:00am to 9:00pm, or sunset, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Late spring or early autumn is a great time to visit, particularly if you want first pick at campsites. Cabot Creamery, Fairbanks Museum, Maple Grove Factory, and Bragg Farm Sugarhouse are just a few of the attractions that are near the park. For more information, the park can be reached at 802 426 3042 or at 4239 VT RT 232, Marshfield, Vermont 05658. They can also be visited online at http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/newdiscovery.htm.