In the early 1800s, pioneers cleared fields, rocks, and stumps in Ricker Basin and Cotton Brook. A settlement of 50 or so families once lived in this area. The hard demands of the land and weather forced younger generations to abandon the farms. Today, old cemeteries, sawmill remains, old town roads, bridges and many cellar holes can still be seen as evidence of a past community.
On November 3 and 4 of 1927, torrential rains caused local rivers to rise and drove residents to their roofs. Between 1935 and 1938 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, constructed Waterbury Reservoir. The CCC camp here was a fully operating, thriving community with more than 80 buildings, and housing 2,000 men at its peak. Now, half a century later, only a few solitary chimneys and concrete foundations remain.
Today, Little River State Park is one of the most popular parks in central Vermont. Waterbury Reservoir is particularly favored for boating with a portion of the reservoir devoted to quieter uses. Angling for bass and trout is as popular here as water-skiing.
Enjoy swimming beaches, play areas, boat rentals and a launch, and miles of hiking and mountain bike trails in the adjacent Mt. Mansfield State Forest. Self-guided history and nature trails are located close to the camping area.
Little River State Park, which is part of Mt. Mansfield State Forest, primarily consists of a campground with 81 tent/trailer sites, 20 lean-tos and five cabins. This is central Vermont's largest and most popular campground. Three of the four restrooms include hot showers ($). A sanitary dump station is available, but no hookups. Within the campground, there are swimming beaches, play areas, a boat launch, ball field, nature museum and programs, and boat rentals. Adjacent to the park are miles of hiking trails (open for day use) that take in the rich cultural and natural history of the area.