By Steve Costello
A mother loon and her fledgling swim around Chittenden Reservoir, one of many species that calls the area home.
Saturday, Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. — CHITTENDEN — Chittenden Reservoir Day, the annual cleanup and celebration of the 750-acre hydroelectric and recreational facility owned by Green Mountain Power, will be held Oct. 3 at the dam. The event, which includes a free barbecue, will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Chittenden Reservoir is among Vermont’s most pristine high-mountain waters, and one of the region’s most popular recreational assets,” said Steve Costello, a GMP’s vice president. “Reservoir Day is an annual reminder of the importance of protecting the area as we also celebrate it.”
Each year, canoeists, kayakers, boaters and hikers attend Chittenden Reservoir Day, sponsored by Green Mountain Power. Castleton University’s Recycling and Sustainability Club is teaming up with GMP for the cleanup effort again this year.
Chittenden Reservoir Day began in 2002, shortly after the state banned water skiing and set a 5 mph limit on powerboats. The popularity of the lake, which was already a draw for fishing, paddlers and hikers, ballooned after that decision by the Water Resources Board.
In the first year, more than two tons of trash was collected, much of it apparently dumped years earlier. In recent years, far less trash has been found, as older trash was removed and people began treating the area with greater respect. Casella Waste Management has provided a free dumpster for the event each year.
The first 100 people in attendance will receive commemorative t-shirts, while free food and soft drinks will be available to everyone who attends.
Chittenden Reservoir is a GMP hydroelectric facility. The company owns 75 acres of land around the reservoir, the land under the water, and the dam and public access area, which is leased to the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife. The U.S. Forest Service purchased most of the surrounding lands in 1997. The area is home to loons, ospreys, bald eagles, moose, deer, beaver, river otters, several species of ducks, common mergansers and dozens of other bird, fish, mammal and reptile species.
For more information on Chittenden Reservoir Day, contact Bonnie O’Rourke at 802-343-4131.