News & Updates

Updates & Current Happenings

MONDAY Oct. 11, 2021 – Leahy To Announce $250,000 Grant To Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center On Vermont’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day

CONTACT: David Carle,   ph: 301-872-0665

WHERE: 1 Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington

11:15 a.m. Monday – Senator Leahy will join Fred Wiseman of Alnôbaiwi, Phelan Fretz of the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and Nick Warner, Executive Director of the Winooski Valley Park District to announce $250,000 in funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for the Vermont Indigenous Heritage Center at the Ethan Allen Homestead.  The funding will be used to make improvements to the building which currently houses the Heritage Center and to expand and better curate materials at the homestead.  As part of his work on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy has long championed funding for Lake Champlain as part of the commission’s budget.

There will be opportunities to tour the current exhibits, as well as presentations of Abenaki dancing, drumming and crafts before and after the Senator’s visit.

Visit our COVID-19 Response Page for more information.


  • Starting August 1, 2020 per the State of Vermont Mask Mandate all visitors to WVPD parks will be required to wear a mask or cloth facial covering any time where they come in contact with others from outside their households, and where it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least six feet.
  • Maintain at least a six-foot (6’) physical distance from other people in the park as recommended by the CDC
  • Please stay home if you or members of your household are feeling unwell

  • Do not travel or carpool with non-household members

  • Keep your dog(s) on a leash at all times and avoid touching and interacting other people’s dogs (they are members of the household and must follow physical and social distancing as well)

  • Avoid touching structures such as fences, sign posts, information boards, picnic tables, gates and railings

  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Carry hand sanitizer with you while visiting parks

  • Pick up your trash and properly remove it from the park to help protect our staff. Please pick up, bag, and properly dispose of your dog’s waste

  • Restroom facilities are closed

  • Bring your own water

The WVPD acknowledges this is a fluid and constantly evolving situation. While WVPD parks currently remain open, we are closely following and will adhere to recommendations set forth by the CDC, Vermont Department of Health, along with state and local officials. We will strive to keep our parks open as long as possible, but need the public’s help to ensure they remain a safe space for everyone.  Please observe and follow all signage posted in the parks and other public recreation areas.

Posted March 27, 2020

WVPD’s Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak:

Due to the current situation in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak, WVPD offices will be closed until further notice. We have been monitoring the situation closely and will continue to do so, along with following all guidelines and recommendation from the CDC and Vermont Department of Health.  WVPD staff will be working remotely, and are available via email (see below for staff email addresses or visit our contacts page).  In addition to the WVPD offices, the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum and Burlington Forest Preschool will also be closed, and all meetings, programs, and events are postponed until further notice.  For questions specific to the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum or Burlington Forest Preschool, please contact them directly. The WVPD’s landline (802) 863-5744 will be checked periodically for messages; however, email is the best mode of communication for the time being.

We strongly recommend that you gather information and track bulletins related to this situation at:

We will do our best to keep our park system in good shape – and recognize that they offer a unique respite during these trying times.  Parks will remain open per usual from dawn to dusk each day. If you do utilize our parks, please respect park rules and regulations, practice social distancing, and make sure to sanitize before and after using the facilities.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and for joining the community in protecting each other during the coming weeks.

Best wishes,

Nick Warner
WVPD Executive Director

Staff Email Contact:

Nick Warner, Executive Director

Tim Larned, Park Superintendent

Lauren Chicote, Programs Director

Remy Crettol, Programs & Project Coordinator,

Rachel Proctor, AmeriCorps Environmental Educator & Resource Specialist,

WVPD in the News & Recent Articles

Williston Observer, January 7th, 2017:

Seven Days, August 9, 2017:

Williston Observer, October 19th, 2017:

Open Letter to our New North End Neighbors: RE: Derway Cove, former Rivers End Marina

With the spring arriving, many are discovering changes at the former Rivers End Marina.  After more than 40 years of operation, and increasing challenges with siltation and flooding, the Bowlers chose to sell the property.

In August 2018, after more than a year putting together the transaction, the Bowler family sold the Rivers End Marina to the Winooski Valley Park District adding about 2.5 acres to the existing 148 acre Derway Island Natural Area.  It was a special privilege for us to get to know the Bowlers, learn the rich history of their tenure at the Marina, and build a relationship that we now treasure.

WVPD, a non-profit regional park agency operating on behalf of seven member towns (, is working closely with project partner Lake Champlain Land Trust which was instrumental in putting together the acquisition.  Funding acquired from Vermont Housing Conservation Board, Burlington Conservation Legacy Fund, and WVPD Capital reserves supported the purchase.  Demolition of the buildings and infrastructure is being funded by a FEMA grant, and park development is being funded by the Lake Champlain and its Tributaries Fund throw the Vermont Communities Foundation.

WVPD is not ready to fully open the park….and until the buildings are removed, we are faced with managing empty structures.  WVPD has given the fire department full permission to use the buildings for practicing forced entries, extremely helpful for their training needs, and an added a level of activity that helps protect the site against abuse.  We have also started hearing from neighbors who are the “eyes and ears” necessary for all of us to be effective stewards – please let us know if you witness any issues that we should know about, especially over the next few months while the buildings are still in place.

Meanwhile, the overall goal is to re-naturalize the shoreline while enhancing public access.  WVPD will be submitting a draft park design for zoning approval later this summer, and will post notices for public comment before the design is finalized.

Due to safety and structural concerns, the access road won’t be open until the buildings are removed and we have completed road repairs – but the public is welcome to walk the site and enjoy this amazing new asset.

We are now awaiting clearances for building demolition and removal of the concrete foundations.  The dock system will be removed and re-purposed elsewhere for a boardwalk.

In summary: Derway Cove, the newest addition to Derway Island Natural Area, will be cleared of structures and foundations, re-naturalized, opened to the public, and protected by a conservation easement.  Once fully operational, it will be open dawn to dusk, and available as a car top boating access, fishing spot, and a great addition to Derway Island Natural Area.

Thank you to all the neighbors, former marina customers, and others who have been helpful to the Bowlers during their transition.  Give us a call at 802-863-5744, drop a line to with any questions or concerns, or attend one of our monthly Trustee meetings (regularly held on the third Tuesday of each month at 4:30pm at the WVPD offices at the Ethan Allen Homestead).  We would also be happy to email you materials related to this amazing asset.

Best regards, Nick Warner, WVPD Executive Director