Human History of Lone Rock Point

Through Lab #12, I was able to gain valuable insight into the human history of Lone Rock Point. I discovered the residence of the Abenaki tribe at one point in history, as well as the military. There is evidence of rock fragments that lead people to believe the Abenaki utilized this land for hunting and fishing. The settlers came and pushed the natives off the land. In the mid-1800’s Lone Rock Point was cleared for logging.  The first Bishop of the Diocese of Vermont, John Henry Hopkins geared this clearing and ordered the Hemlocks stay untouched. We can see this today in the high point on the property called “Hemlock Hill.” When Hopkins reached financial unsteadiness, he sold the land for educational purposes to the Trustees of the Vermont Episcopal Institute. The school at Rock Point has seen many different owners, but remained a place of education. It became a  military academy during the civil war. In fact, the Parade Grounds were used to run drills during the military age.

Currently,  Lone Rock Point school is a mentoring school for high school students and to provide income for land management, it has adopted a fee for colleges and local middle and high schools to take field trips to Rock Point to study all that it has to offer.

It is fitting to examine the human history of place through Natural Resources and Human Ecology, and I appreciate the nature this course has cultivated.

Fort Arcturus’00.5%22N+72%C2%B007’04.1%22W/@44.1683586,-72.1232983,847m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d44.1668!4d-72.1178

On a mild New England summer day in mid July, we came across a unique spread of pines, both young and aged that seemed to call out to us. We stepped into the timberline and determined the landscape could work with us and develop a relationship to create a simplistic structure we knew as Fort Arcturus.  This was the start of a unique connection between man and the landscape.

Focused on the goal of preserving the quaint and peaceful area, we only cleared as much timber as necessary to build upon and with.

We worked all day and through the night by torch and firelight to construct our fort. Trying to incorporate as many natural materials as possible and keeping a strong consciousness for each woody plant, we strengthened our bond with nature.

The site is hidden in the woods and is enigmatic to all but the founders and the wildlife. Porcupine often sits and observes from the mature pine towering over the roof.  Wind whispers through the firs and settles among the rock crests. Remnants of stone walls from days of pioneer farms form the foundation of our fort to integrate landscape history.

When the construction was complete, we struggled with what to name our pride & joy. We had installed a wood stove and got it cranking to about 76 degrees in the little hut. As we sat in the dead of night listening to the wind whip outside, we began to brainstorm.

The stars shone as bright as ever, and as we looked up at the sky through the window of the fort, one single star shone brighter than the others. We all saw it all the same time, and it was almost as if it had gotten brighter in that very moment. We researched and determined the name of the star that had illuminated itself to us; Arcturus.



-inspired by the style of Leopold




Fort Arcturus shares various characteristics with Lone Rock Point.  Birds can be heard in the trees in both landscapes. While Lone Rock meets the lake, Arcturus meets a wide open field, however they both reside in a deep forest. Glacial erratics at Lone Rock can also be found to the left of the site of Arcturus, among a group of trees that we like to call “Death Forest.”

While mainly cedars live on Lone Rock, there is a majority of pines and birches on the site of the fort. The dissimilar soils can account for this difference. On lone rock, the soil is much sandier and rockier, while the earth under Arcturus is moist and is home to a much more diverse population of vegetation.

Both phenology landscapes are holistically beautiful in their own unique ways. The land on which Fort Arcturus sits generates a stronger personal connection than Lone Rock, for I have observed more life in that spot. I feel one with the earth when I am in Arcturus. I have developed a relationship with each season through this small, hand constructed home.



-in the style of Wright

Events Map-November

The early days of November in VT are experiencing different weather than previous years. It is quite a bit warmer than it usually is in at this time, today was 62 degrees when I took this adventure to Lone Rock. The temperature has been steadily decreasing with the increasing rainfall. The recent windstorm had a great impact on my phenology site. During my visit, there was a constant roar of chainsaws, working to maintain trails and public service areas from fallen trees. As the pictures depict, the very beginning of the trail head had a massive oak across it.  When I came back from Lone Rock Point, the tree had been cut, in order to be passable. The management of the trails is timely and well-done. The leaves are mostly off, making for a late stick season. There is increased dead matter and leaves covering the forest floor. The storm water infrastructure on the trails such as the stepping stumps and bridges are being put to good use with recent precipitation. The pigment of the leaves this time of year is quite interesting, such as the Tamarack, everything appears to have a yellow hue.

 My Events Map depicting the series of events trekking to Lone Rock Point includes several encounters with downed trees and I witnessed Burlington tree crew taking care of these blockages. 


Lone Rock Point also suffered tree damage such as the paths to the point. Multiple cedars had been uprooted from heavy winds. This is upsetting to see such damage. 

Lone Rock Point-10/23/17

I visited my phenology site on one of these warm fall afternoons and the foliage was breathtaking. I gained a little bit of knowledge from my brother, a forestry major, about the history of cedars in Burlington. On LRP,  the majority of the trees in the cliff areas consist of northern red cedars, but also hold habitat to white cedars as well. The trails to Lone Rock are well maintained and include several methods of sustainable stormwater infrastructure. The vegetation remained mostly the same as my last visit, but with the onset of cold weather, it will be changing rather quickly. 

Lone Rock Point

& Surrounding Attractions
Aerial View of Lone Rock Point,-73.2493583,2254m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x4cca7ac97e01b0d7:0x4659f2702fc8b6e7!2sLone+Rock+Point!3b1!8m2!3d44.4883819!4d-73.2487393!3m4!1s0x4cca7ac97e01b0d7:0x4659f2702fc8b6e7!8m2!3d44.4883819!4d-73.2487393

Lone Rock Point is located accordingly just north of North Beach. This small peninsula within Lake Champlain is unique and much of the land is owned by Episcopal Diocese of Vermont. I chose this wonderful place to study for the whole year due to the fact that it is one of my favorite places in Burlington. I often find myself at North Beach walking out to Lone Rock to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of this place. Sandwiched in between Leddy and North Beach and accessible by the Burlington Bike Path, Lone Rock is a special location. This natural attraction is home to a number of common woody plants, including several rare and endangered species. Dominant tree species include sugar & red maple, white & red oak, and white ash. This place is socially active within the community, with organized silent retreats and summer camps hosted at this natural area. Sandy soils contribute to the stirring, abrupt transition from maple and oak to younger white pines. Another special attribute of Lone Rock are the several vernal pools along the easily accessible trail to the point. I am incredibly excited to pursue the development of this place based project.