The idea of a Winooski River Park originated in the mid-sixties when, on the basis of a public opinion poll of river valley residents, it was suggested that canoe and boat accesses, trails to the water' s edge, picnic areas, and bird and wildlife sanctuaries be established. Five river communities agreed to join in this effort and, by a special statute passed by the Vermont Legislature in 1972, formed the Winooski Valley Park District comprised of Burlington, Colchester, Essex, South Burlington, and Winooski.
In 1988, the towns of Jericho and Williston elected to join. Since then the seven communities have worked together to protect or acquire areas of special interest to the citizens of member towns for purposes of conservation, environmental protection and recreational use. Water quality, minimum stream flow at dams, canoe and boat access areas, trail systems, and the preservation of floodplain and wetland areas as wildlife sanctuaries are all concerns of the Winooski Valley Park District. As regional issues, they are best addressed when the river and its watershed are considered together as a natural ecosystem.
The Winooski Valley Park District will continue to maintain properties within its member towns for dispersed recreation and environmental protection and will work with communities along the entire length of the Winooski to ensure that the river' s educational, recreational, ecological and aesthetic value be maximized.