MONTPELIER - Vermont State Parks announces the annual opening of its summer operating season this weekend.

The Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial beginning of summer, also marks the beginning of the prime season for all 52 state parks.

Officials are optimistic that this year's park visitation will at least match last year's 20 year record.

"There is a heightened interest in our park system these days because of improvements we are making, our quality staff and a renewed appreciation for the value of outdoor recreation to improve our lives in a variety of ways," said Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks. The system saw over 915,000 visits last summer.

This year, to enhance outdoor fun, Vermont State Parks has put together a bag of "Camping Tips & Tricks" on their website. The site includes a series of amusing and informative how-to videos, printable checklists, menus, recipes and shopping lists, weekend itineraries, instruction sheets and activity ideas for kids.

Visitors can also download the Vermont State Parks Android or iPhone app and learn about one of the free "Learn S'more About Camping" clinics taking place throughout the state this summer with the help from Eastern Mountain Sports.

Parks will also be holding Venture Vermont, a statewide outside scavenger hunt. Those interested may download a score sheet from the state park's website, take part in the outdoor activities and take photographs of themselves doing those activities.


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Once participants reach 250 points, they can send in their score sheet and photos to receive a gold VIP medallion which will give them free park day entry for the rest of the year and all of 2014. Park passes may also be checked out for free at local libraries.

For the Vermont State Parks Camping Tips & Tricks, visit http://vtstateparks.com/howto. To learn more about Venture Vermont, visit http://vtstateparks .com/htm/venturevt.htm.

Those interested may follow Vermont State Parks on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VTStateParks or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/VTStateParks.