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Paddling and Kayak Use in Southern Vermont

From: This is Vermont

Experiencing the Waters
By Jonathan Wood

Southern Central Vermont has a string of four public waters for fishing, picnicking, and boating which are largely undiscovered. These ponds and reservoirs, conveniently located between the cities of Bennington and Brattleboro, get little human traffic. They give a taste of what Vermont has to offer to both the visitor and the native Vermonter interested in "experiencing the waters."

Grout Pond

Encircled by forest this water body is several miles from any permanent human dwelling. There is a parking lot a few hundred feet from the shore, public toilets, and a launch for canoes or human-powered water craft. A short stroll from the parking lot are picnic tables with fire places that overlook several mini-beaches. Short hikes on labeled trails around the pond bring one to remote camping and fishing sites. Another trail meanders 2 miles through the Green Mountain National Forest before emerging on the shore of Somerset Reservoir. Note: The Park Service welcomes donations to help maintain the pond and shoreline. Opportunities for watching birds and wildlife are excellent.

Directions: Follow route 100 north from Wilmington to West Wardsboro. In West Wardsboro turn left at the "Stratton 2 miles" sign and continue past the turn for Stratton; before the pavement ends you will see signs with arrows for Grout Pond. Follow the signs down the road on your left to the Pondís parking lot.

Somerset Reservoir

This is the first of a series of large reservoirs utilizing the Deerfield River for electrical power. The south end of the reservoir, just after the dam, has a parking lot complete with public toilets. Below the parking lot is a boat launch suitable for motorized and man-powered vessels. To the right of the launch a series of picnic tables and stone fire places provide opportunities for a day of picnicking with views of the opposite shore line. The shore line varies from grassy around the dam to brushy and forested as one progresses north. By canoe, fishing hidden inlets for Rainbow Trout, Walleyed Pike, and Bass are possible. Note: Only swim in designated spots; the area is open to day use between the hours of 6 AM and 9:30 PM.

Directions: Travel east on route 9 from Bennington approximately 9.5 miles passing Woodford State Park. After passing the turn for route 8, continue down the mountain .5 miles to Somerset Road on the left. Follow Somerset Road, which changes to dirt, approximately 4 miles. After passing the dam, the parking lot is on your left.

Harriman Reservoir

Harriman is a vast, snaking body of water stretching more than 7 miles north to south. On the developed northern tip one can find a variety of different activities from a scenic boat tour to fishing from several pull off areas. The eastern shore has a boat launch and roads where one can find picnic tables hidden in the trees with views of the water. An interesting sight is the dam at the south end of the reservoir, with the circular "glory hole spillway," which boaters should avoid. The Catamount Ski Trail passes through the parking lot at the dam and continues along the undeveloped western shore. Here a hiker can experience the quiet on the fringe of the Green Mountain National Forest while fishing for Walleyed Pike, Bass and Lake Trout.

Directions: The northern end of Harriman can be accessed off route 9 in Wilmington through a series of pull off areas. To get to the southern end, follow route 9 out of Wilmington. At approximately .5 miles take route 100 south, after a mile watch for Wilmington Cross Road on your right. Take this road until reaching 100 south. Drive right for about 1 mile until reaching Harriman road on your right. Follow Harriman Road until reaching the parking lot.

A Message from Trans Canada

Sadawga Pond

The southern most of the four, Sadawga Pond has a peculiar natural phenomenon‹a floating island. This island is the only one of its kind in Vermont. Primary access to this small pond is via the boat launch, which is well maintained, but has no public facilities. With a boat you can view the island, gaze at the surrounding rural country side, or fish the waters for bass. The grass around the launch has been mowed allowing for fishing access, but watch your feet! The Canada Geese also frequent the shore leaving behind droppings. This is a day use only facility maintained by the Vermont Department of Fish and Game.

Directions: Follow route 9 out of Wilmington. At approximately .5 miles take route 100 south, after a mile watch for Wilmington Cross Road on your right. Take this road until reaching 100 south. Drive right for about .5 miles turning on to Sadawga Lake Road on your left. The boat launch is on your right.

Stay safe when visiting Vermont's waters. Read the rules and regulations posted at all the facilities and follow them. Flotation devices are required for all people using watercraft.


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