Indian Brook Park
With cooler temperatures in the forecast, Indian Brook Reservoir can still have cyanobacteria blooms. We don’t have staff there on a regular basis this time of year to check or post signage ahead of your park visit; please use caution.
Know what to look for - the Lake Champlain Committee continues to update its info https://www.healthvermont.gov/tracking/cyanobacteria-tracker
Indian Brook Park 2021 Season Information
Indian Brook has long been the crown jewel of our natural areas in Essex, and we have been hard at work re-imagining what access, management, and best practices look like to keep Indian Brook the natural treasure that it is. While all of these re-imaginings are going to be brand new for all of us, we’re confident that these changes will help us protect the beauty of Indian Brook while providing increased opportunities for outdoor recreation in the cleanest and safest environment we can create, all right in your back yard!
What’s new this year?
- Season pass (April thru October) for Essex Residents only
- Quick and easy online registration process
- Passes available to purchase or pick-up at the Indian Brook Park front gate
- Daily visit options for residents and non-residents
- Multiple season pass options to fit household needs
- Dog/leash rule clarification - Dogs are allowed off-leash (kept in voice control) in the designated on-trail areas only (signage will be posted along the trails indicating where dogs can be off leash and where they need to be re-leashed)
- Additional and more consistent staffing during the season to help maintain the park while providing customer service and collect more accurate park usage data to inform future decision making
Why are we making these changes?
We believe that these changes will position us to better support the environmental health of Indian Brook Park, provide additional recreational opportunities and programs to our community, and will allow us to do it all in a more fiscally responsible manner. We believe these changes will result in an increase in revenue generation which will allow us to eventually support Indian Brook Park’s budget directly through user fees, rather than taxes. Using an enterprise fund will allow us to reinvest excess revenue back into the park, creating a brighter, more diverse future for the park itself while minimizing the use of tax dollars to subsidize staffing and park maintenance needs.
The 2021 Season will run from late April through early October. Season passes will be available for purchase online, over the phone, or at the Recreation Office beginning Wednesday, March 31. Passes purchased before the official start date of the season can be picked up at Indian Brook Park at the front entrance during the season with proof of purchase (printed or electronic). Gate staff will issue your purchased pass to you upon arrival.
150 Indian Brook Road, Essex, Vermont
Park Features: Indian Brook Park is a 740-acre community park featuring a 60-acre reservoir, trails, a non-motorized boat launch, picnic areas, and parking. An ideal location to fish, hike, horseback ride, or run! The park is bordered to the northwest by over 600 acres of Winooski Valley Park District land, including Colchester Pond.
Indian Brook Map PDF
Firearms Ordinance (Updated 10/7/19)
Parks Ordinance (Updated 10/7/19)
Firearms Discharge Area Map (Updated 10/7/19)
Firearms Signage Indian Brook (Updated 10/7/19)
Indian Brook FAQ 2021 Season
Q: Who is eligible to purchase a Season Pass?
A: Any resident of the Town of Essex, which includes the Village of Essex Junction.
Q: I purchased a 2-year pass last year and should be covered for the 2021 season, do I need to buy a new pass?
A: No! Any Essex resident who had a valid Season Pass for the 2021 season was sent an email detailing the process for redeeming your 2021 Flex Pass (with a dog endorsement) once the season has officially begun. Non-Residents in this situation will receive a punch pass through the mail shortly and should have received an email with more details.
Q: I purchased a 2-year pass last year AND we purchased additional passes for our other vehicles, do I need to buy a new pass?
A: No! You should have received an email with instructions for redeeming your 2021 Flex Pass. A Flex Pass can be transferred between a family’s vehicles and does not require additional passes to be purchased. If sharing a pass between family member vehicles is not preferred, then purchasing a Fixed Pass would be the best way to secure access for multiple vehicles, potentially at the same time.
Q: Why are you allowing access to non-Residents through a daily visit option?
A: In 2012, the Selectboard put a hold on allowing any new non-Essex Residents to purchase a pass and grandfathered in any non-Essex Residents who already had a pass. While allowing a standard way for non-Essex Residents will increase the number of people eligible to attend, it will do so in a way that tracks our park usage for residents, non-residents, and dogs as well as when that demand occurs. Using this information, we can best determine how to manage overall use for the betterment of the facility.
Q: Why are you charging more for bringing your dog?
A: While we love our four-legged friends, they do have a tendency to leave behind waste and create additional wear and tear on the trails. These certainly are not new problems, but they do need new solutions. We’ll still be asking park users to clean up after their animals, but we’ll also be able to increase staffing and have our staff monitor, and if needed intervene, with any park users not following this etiquette and ordinance. These changes will also give us better information to address the problems submitted to us by park users and the resources required to address them.
Q: Why are dogs even allowed at Indian Brook at all OR Why do I have to have my dog on a leash at all?
A: Some people love dogs and value them as family members, some people find them terrifying and anxiety producing. Leash rules and increased enforcement of waste removal is a compromise. Dogs will be required to be on-leash unless in designated off-leash areas on the trails. Even in these places, dog owners are expected to leash their dogs or communicate with other park users before any dog-to-person or dog-to-dog interactions occur.
Q: Won’t this new process result in overrunning the park with new users?
A: This new process will allow us to track the number of users at Indian Brook (including the number of dogs) at any given time much more accurately than we’ve done in the past. Having this information will allow us to plan and make informed decisions every year. If we find that the number of users is overrunning the park and it can’t be maintained and improved to meet the demand, then we’ll know exactly what needs to change and why. This is the first step in learning more about the park's carrying capacity, which is why an initial season pass hold was created back in 2012.
Q: Does this mean the State will pay to stock the reservoir now?
A: Unfortunately the State will not be paying for any stocking of the water and hasn’t for several years, but Essex Rec has been stocking the waters with approximately 1,000 Brook and Brown Trout since the State had stopped. We’re planning on doing the same this year!