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Emerald Lake, Dorset

Birding in Vermont

Emerald Lake
East Dorset, Vermont 05253
Emerald Lake State Park webpage
Emerald Lake State Park map

Also, see Emerald Lake State Park

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Bennington County

Emerald Lake – Dorset (28 acres)
Coordinates: 43.27, -73
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About Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake Park surrounds 28-acre Emerald Lake, named for the emerald green color of its waters when viewed from above. Restricted to non-motorized watercraft, the lake is ideal for swimming and paddling. The lake also offers anglers an opportunity to catch yellow perch, smallmouth bass, northern pike, and other warm-water species.

Emerald Lake (28 acres) is a site for the Vermont LoonWatch annual survey. Birders are encouraged to volunteer as often and whenever they are able. See Join LoonWatch for details.

Tips for birding Emerald Lake State Park
A description with a map of the trails at Emerald Lake State Park is on the TrailFinder website.

About Emerald Lake State Park
Located conveniently between Manchester and Rutland, Emerald Lake State Park is popular for its wooded hillside campground, beach and swimming area, and nearby attractions and tourist destinations. The park is a favorite destination of hikers, with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail nearby, and trails on Dorset Mountain.

The Dorset area became well known for its marble quarries by the early 19th century. The first commercial marble quarry to open in the region, and likely the country, was opened in 1785 by Isaac Underhill on Mount Aeolus. The quarry age of Dorset spanned some 130 years. In the early years, marble was cut for uses like headstones and hearthstones. The Feedley and Sons Quarry, on the southern end of what is now the state park, opened in 1804. Huge blocks of stone were cut from the mountainsides at the Feedley quarry where they were placed on an inclined rail system and sent a mile down the mountain to a finishing mill. Finished stone was sent out on rail cars. During the quarry age peak, as many as 30 quarries harvested stone for many uses, including projects like the New York City library and many bank and public buildings across the country. Many local buildings and sidewalks are made from the local stone. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, quarrying marble in Dorset began to draw to a close. Quarries further north in West Rutland and Proctor proved to yield higher quality stone much easier than the rugged mountain quarries in Dorset.

Between 1918 and 1921 Robert Alfred Shaw purchased more than 1,000 acres of land, establishing North Dorset Farms. His acquisitions included the area surrounding Dorset Pond, which is now known as Emerald Lake. In 1957, following Mr. Shaw’s death, the State purchased approximately 1,000 acres from his estate. Approximately 500 acres, located adjacent to the park on the east side of US Route 7, is now Emerald Lake State Forest. The 430 acres on the west side of the highway comprise the park. In 1960, Emerald Lake State Park opened to the public. The original facilities included a small campground, beach, and picnic area.

Today, the remains of past quarry operations can still be seen. The Stone remains of the Freedley and Sons finishing plant are located approximately 2 miles south of the park. Other former quarries remain as water-filled pits. Examples of these can be seen along Route 30 in Dorset and on the mountainside along Route 7. One of the more unique features from this bygone era is the North Dorset Cemetery located on the hill overlooking the park’s contact station and parking lot. The cemetery has many headstones made of local marble.
From Emerald Lake State Park webpage