Chickering Bog is rich in biodiversity such as rare plants.
Chickering Bog Chickering Bog is rich in biodiversity such as rare plants. © Candice Black

Places We Protect

Vermont

Chickering Bog Natural Area

Bullfrogs are known to strike up a seasonal chorus at this fen outside Montpelier.

Just 15 minutes from Vermont's state capitol of Montpelier, this wide-open peatland, circled by dark tamarack, spruce and fir forest, feels as if it is a world away. Chickering Bog began to form when glaciers receded from Vermont over 10,000 years ago and left behind a bedrock basin that filled with water. Chickering Bog is actually misnamed; this so-called bog is really a fen. Water enters bogs solely through rainwater, while fens like Chickering Bog are also fed by calcium-rich groundwater and springs.

A one mile trail and boardwalk named after our former director, Bob Klein, allows visitors to get close to the myriad of fen plants such as blue flag iris and showy lady's slipper orchids, as well as to wildlife. Bullfrogs, pickerel frogs, northern leopard frogs and wood frogs all strike up their choruses in season. Wood ducks,barred owls, pileated woodpeckers, swamp sparrows and other birds are found here. In winter, the tracks of mammals ranging from fishers to white-tailed deer and snowshoe hares crisscross the fen's frozen surface.

This special natural area is now being recognized with a Class I Wetland Designation which is like winning "best in show" among conservation circles. We invite you to come visit what is considered the largest and best example of a rich fen in Vermont.

What the Conservancy is Doing

We completed protection of the bog and most of the surrounding watershed in 2014.

There is a one-mile trail at Chickering Bog Natural Area. An easy walk, the trail leads to a new boardwalk that was replaced in 2006 with the help of a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps team so that visitors could continue to walk out over the bog without disturbing it. A brochure is available at the preserve. Please read our Preserve Visitation Guidelines.

What to See: Plants

Chickering Bog is home to a large variety of fen plants including grass pink, sundew, cotton grass, blue flag iris, sweet gale, pitcher plant, showy lady’s slipper and livid sedge.

What to See: Animals

Frogs, wood ducks, crows, nuthatches, pileated woodpeckers and the tracks of fur-bearing mammals like bears, white-tailed deer and hares have been spotted here.