The Human History of Red Rocks Park

The Human History of Red Rocks Park

While visiting Red Rocks Park on a chilly December morning the wind stood still and the landscape looked dull, like there no sign of life. There was the smell of the burning wood in the air giving me great delight, but the dead leaves, fallen trees, and broken branches did not. As I walked throughout the park I came across little stands informing me about the history of the park. What I found was that the park contains many White-Cedar, White Pine, Red Pine, and Hemlock as well as over 300 wildflower species. This area also attracts Whistling Swan, Common Eider, and Black Guillemot, and lost of other water birds. Original the park was divided into two different estates the eastern and western. The eastern area was more developed such as having parking lots, picnic tables, a beach, and walking trails. The western area was the complete opposite, it was considered to be natural due to the many trees. During the time period of the late 1700s and early 1800s the land did not belong to anyone, but faced deforestation and agriculture loss. The very first owner of the land was by a man named Edward Hatch where he maintained the land as his private estate starting in 1866. The Hatch estate had lots of activity on the land, even though he did not establish residence there, he created roads made of broken stone to Queen City Park, the neighboring park, that could have carriages travel across, which are used as hiking trails in present times. In the month of September of 1909, Edward Hatch passed away leaving the land to be unkempt and suffered from deforestation. In 1942 the tree species of wolf pine was very noticeable at the time for it grew wide with its branches spreading under the bright sun. Trees and other types of vegetation were brought to Red Rocks such as Eastern White Pines, which is where the trees for my phenology spot came from. However, there was also an industrial development of a parkway occurring the year of 1962. Then in 1970, the ownership of the park was purchased by the city of South Burlington. As the years continued industrialized occurred in 1974 where they made parking lots. There were also postcards ( the two lower images with the lake in them)  made to attack people to come to the beautiful land that the park holds and gain recognition. New tree species to the area such as Red Maples and other hardwood came in 1988. There became a conflict of what the land should be used for some suggest it be used for the light industry, while a UVM professor argued that the land is used for natural resource potential nature center and picnic area. Thankful the land was conserved and is still prospering today with all of the visitors that travel through, even if they are four-legged.                          

 

 

 

 

The first photo was taken by me. Horse and Buggie. 2 Dec. 2017. Wolf Pine Trees. 22 Sept. 2017. Lake Champlain from Red Rocks. Postcard PSAW ephemera collections. Rock Road Summer House, Red Rocks Burlington VT. on Lake Champlain postmark 1927. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections