Dispersed Camping in Merck Forest
Most of the land in Merck Forest and Farmland Center is open to “dispersed” camping. This means being away from certain conveniences found at cabins, shelters or other developed areas. Dispersed camping sites are backpacker only and everything taken into a dispersed camping site must be packed out again.
Dispersed campsite users should expect:
- No potable water: Water quality is not tested in MFFC ponds, streams or springs. Treat, boil or filter all water or bring your own.
- No outhouses: Dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep to bury waste at least 200 feet from campsites, watersources, or trails. Digging animals can expose waste buried in shallow holes.
- No campfires: Campfires are prohibited at any location besides MFFC cabins or shelters.
An overnight permit is required and must be obtained at the Joy Green Visitor Center or by calling 802.394.7836. Visitor Center hours are 9am-4pm daily. Dispersed camping permits are $5 per person/night.
There is a maximium stay limit of 7 consecutive nights and limited dispersed camping permits available. MFFC Staff will happily assist visitors with questions, provide maps, camping suggestions and Leave No Trace materials. You can download a trail map here.
Dispersed camping is allowed on MFFC property as long as the following requirements are met:
- Not a prohibited area – check with Visitor Center staff for list
- Permit(s) visibly displayed on tent(s)
- Campsite must be at least 200 feet away from streams and ponds to help protect streamside vegetation and prevent pollution
- Campsites must be at least 200 feet and out of sight from MFFC buildings, cabins and shelters to ensure solitude for all visitors
- Campsites must be located 200 feet away from roads, trails and overlooks
- 12 person maximum group size
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace® must be practiced.
Dispersed Campers will:
- Plan and prepare
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts
- Respect wildlife
- Be considerate of other visitors
The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: www.LNT.org
If you are unfamiliar with Leave No Trace practices, details can be found by visiting the LNT website here.
The beauty of the natural vegetation around your campsite is probably why you chose it. Help MFFC keep it healthy and beautiful by adhering to the camping requirements listed above.
Enjoy your stay at Merck Forest and Farmland Center!
Please note: MFFC reserves the right to revoke dispersed camping privileges or charge fines for violating dispersed camping policies.