West Rutland Marsh
From Route 4, take Exit 6 (Proctor/West Rutland) then take Route 4A west into West Rutland. At the flashing red light at the intersection of US Business Route 4 (Main Street) and Marble Street at the town hall in West Rutland go north for 1.4 miles on Marble Street. Look for a small parking area on the left with a sign "West Rutland Marsh Boardwalk."
Follow the boardwalk for about 100 yards into the marsh to a small viewing platform.
The best reason to visit the marsh is to see the birds and since the least bittern is rarely found in Vermont, it attracts birders from all over. To further verify the marsh's credentials, Birder's World magazine listed the West Rutland Marsh in its October 2008 edition as one of the birding hotspots that can be found in the United States.
Are there other good reasons why you will love the marsh? Yes! The marsh is the perfect place for quiet recreation and contemplation. The main marsh is surrounded by dirt roads that are used primarily by others looking for respite from a busy world. Cyclists, walkers, runners and horseback riders, as well as birders, use the marsh. The wind in the cattails and the backdrop of rolling hills is just the setting for getting away.
Rutland County Audubon has worked with the Town of West Rutland to help keep this marsh special. The biggest projects so far area a long boardwalk that extends into the heart of the marsh and an interpretive trail. This is the perfect place to bring a child. If you visit in early spring there will be plenty of red-winged blackbirds setting up territories and singing to attract mates. By late spring, the rattling song of the marsh wrens will be everywhere. Swamp sparrows will be sitting on top of grasses or bushes with their heads back proclaiming "what a great day!" The secretive virginia rails will be calling. Sometimes they will dash across the boardwalk. When you see them disappear into the cattails, you'll know where the expression "thin as a rail" comes from. By the end of June it becomes evident that marsh is an important breeding area as fledglings appear and adult birds search frantically to feed their new families. Fall provides the opportunity to see birds not always found in the marsh as migrants make their way south, stopping to rest and feed on the ripened berries and seeds.
This site is part of the Lake Champlain Birding Trail and a great place to observe wetland birds and birds of prey. The Audubon Society hosts monthly bird monitoring walks here. To date, over 900 participants have tallied 136 species from American bittern to northern shrike.
Check for nearby geocaches to West Rutland Marsh.
Leave No Trace Principle
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Be prepared to find your way home. Familiarize yourself with the area before you set out and bring your map and compass along.