About the Reservoir


Courtesy - Vermont State Parks

In the early 1800's, pioneers cleared fields, rocks, and stumps in Ricker Basin and Cotton Brook. A settlement of 50 or so families once lived in this area. Between 1935 and 1938, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, constructed Waterbury Reservoir.

~ * ~

Since the 1990's, the Reservoir was drained twice for several years to allow for repairs and improvements to the Waterbury Dam and for bank stabilization work on the banks of Little River State Park.


In 1994, the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir was born of an urgent and adversarial need to confront motorboat abuse on the Reservoir, promoted not only by various motor boat advocacy groups but also by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The resolution was a compromise zoning of the Reservoir, established the emergence of cooperative efforts of various motorized and quiet user’s groups.


For more information about the Waterbury Dam and fun things to do in the area, See Related Links.




The Waterbury Reservoir is a rich ecological and recreational resource bordered by State forest lands, two State parks, and private lands.

In 2010, the reservoir was re-filled to its normal 860 or so acres, and visitors returned in greater numbers to enjoy the large open water spaces and the Reservoir saw the return of greater numbers of loons, eagles, hawks, herons, and other wildlife. This increased number of visitors inevitably comes with increased pressures on the resource:


  • Noise from users of shoreline areas and the lake itself which disrupts campers at Little River State Park.

  • Degradation of popular shoreline areas including compaction and erosion, tree cutting, inappropriate disposal of human waste, and littering.

  • Intrusion on wildlife habitat, particularly common loons.

  • Introduction and spread of invasive aquatic species including Brittle Naiad.

  • Law enforcement issues such as high-speed motorboat operation within the no-wake zone areas, user conflicts, and unattended fires.

  • Safety concerns due to a lack of precise shoreline mapping to help locate people who are in need of emergency rescue.

  • Degradation of the boat launches and the canoe access plus inadequate resources to maintain and improve those areas.


In 2013, the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir re-engaged with our partners.


For more information about the FWR's Mission, Vision, & Core Values, please visit About Us.

By The Numbers:

  • 67,280*: Average number visitors each year to Little River and Waterbury Center State Parks

  • $8 million*: Estimated total expenditures for durable and nondurable goods in Vermont from the two State Park visitors (not counting non-Park visitors)

  • 860: Acres of surface water at full summertime level

  • 6 1/2 miles: Length of the Reservoir from end-to-end

  • 100 feet: Maximum depth of the Reservoir in the summertime

  • 589.5 feet: Water elevation in summertime at the Waterbury Dam

  • 5.5: Approximate megawatts of power generated by the Little River Hydro Station (operated by Green Mountain Power) located at the base of the Waterbury Dam

  • 1,845 feet: Length of the Waterbury Dam (and 187 feet high)

  • 5: Number of public boat access areas (Waterbury Dam, Blush Hill, Little River State Park, Waterbury Center State Park, and Moscow / Cottonbrook)

  • 37,000:  Number of acres of the Mount Mansfield State Forest which surrounds the Reservoir


Friends of Waterbury Reservoir

PO Box 341, Waterbury Center, Vermont 05677 | www.friendsofwaterburyres.org | WaterburyRes@gmail.com

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle