Welcome to the audio-described version of the official print brochure for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, historical objects, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park and people, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts approximately 36 minutes which we have divided into 33 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 3-18 cover the front of the brochure and include who George P. Marsh, Fredrick Billings, and Laurence S. Rockefeller were and their impact on conservation stewardship. Sections 19-31 cover the back of the brochure which includes a magnified and expanded map of the park and surrounding area, along with specific stops to see while at the site. Section 32 covers Accessibility and 33 covers More Information.
The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, located in Vermont, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 550 acre park is situated in the city of Woodstock off Vermont Route 12. This park, established in 1992 and is the only national park to tell the story of conservation history and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America. We invite you to explore the park's unique history. The park is a living symbol of three generations of conservationist thought and practice. It is also a repository for the histories of three quintessentially American families. Visitors can tour the mansion and gardens where these exceptional people lived and observed nature, and learn more about land stewardship and conservation by hiking in the managed forest and visiting the conservation stewardship exhibit at the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center.
The park operates in partnership with The Woodstock Foundation, Inc. and the adjacent Billings Farm & Museum
To find out more
about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit
the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the
end of this audio-described brochure.
The front side of the brochure explores who Marsh, Billings, and Rockefeller were, along with their impact on natural resources and conservation stewardship through images, portaits, signatures, text, and quotes.
DESCRIPTION: Colored image of two white rocking chairs facing grass covered fields and tree covered hills over white porch railing. Two smaller chairs rest in front of rocking chairs with a small circular table sits between all four. Larger evergreen trees on both sides of the image. Yellow flowers on the lawn directly on the other side of the porch. Baby blue skies with minimum low clouds. Decorative roof overhang on top of image.
CAPTION: View from the porch of the mansion
CREDIT: NPS/Nora Mitchell
DESCRIPTION: Historical gray scale image of pile of brush and wood smoking. Ground creates water ripple effect. Bare hill slopes to the right and back of the image. Smoke and fog encompass the sky.
CAPTION: Logging in Vermont, 19th century.
CREDIT: Vermont Historical Society
RELATED TEXT: Vermont’s Green Mountains, with their forested hills, small farms, and picturesque villages, have not always been as beautiful and as green. After the American Revolution, settlers poured into Vermont. By the mid-1800s most of Vermont’s forests had been cut down, causing severe erosion and flooding. Vermonters faced their first environmental crisis.
One of the first to respond to this crisis was George Perkins Marsh (1801– 1882). As a child on his family’s farm in Woodstock, Marsh became a keen observer of nature. After serving several terms in Congress in the 1840s, Marsh traveled the lands of the Mediterranean as an American diplomat and saw first-hand how the actions of humans had “brought the earth to a desolation almost as complete as that of the moon.” On his last diplomatic mission in Italy, Marsh distilled his observations into a classic book, Man and Nature (1864). His careful analysis of the human impact on nature and his eloquent plea for responsible land stewardship made this book one of the founding texts of the environmental movement.
In 1869 the Marsh family farm was purchased by Frederick Billings (1823– 1890), a Vermont native who had made his fortune as an attorney in San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Returning to Vermont he found barren hills, silted rivers, and a devastated countryside.
Billings set out to build a farm that would serve future generations as a model of wise stewardship. He imported purebred Jersey cows, and he developed one of the nation’s first programs of scientific forest management, so that, in Billings’s words, “many a barren hillside will once more glow with the glorious autumn foliage, and the quiet village will see itself back in its old life and power.” After his death in 1890, Billings’s plan was sustained by three generations of remarkable women, first by his wife Julia and their three daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, and Laura, and then by Billings’s granddaughter, Mary French.
The marriage of Mary French and Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1934 brought together two families with a strong commitment to conservation. The Rockefeller family had generously created or enhanced over 20 national parks, and Laurance S. Rockefeller inherited his family’s love for the land. As a trusted advisor to five American presidents he helped to make conservation and outdoor recreation an essential part of the national agenda. Together Laurance and Mary made the gift that established Marsh- Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park as Vermont’s first national park.
DESCRIPTION: Black and white circular portrait of a man angled to the left with his head facing forward. Blank expression with clean shaven face and short side combed hair. He wears a black suit with a high collared white shirt and dark colored ascot tie.
CAPTION: A portrait of George Perkins Marsh, paint by G.P.A. Healy, circa 1820.
CREDIT: Billing Family Archives
DESCRIPTION: Cursive writing spelling out George P. Marsh. Both of the letter Gs are lowercased in his first name. The letter P for his middle initial is connected to the letter E from his first name. The connection makes the letter P resemble the letter S. The letter M in the last name is capitalized but smaller than the letter P from his middle initial. Letters M, A and R in Marsh are connected to each other but separated from the letter S and H which are connected.
DESCRIPTION: Black and white squared portrait of a man positioned forward with his head facing right. Small wrinkles under both eyes. Short wavy hair combed over. Full beard with no mustache. He wears a black suit with a white collard button up shirt and skinny western style bow tie.
CAPTION: Fredrick Billings, 1885
CREDIT: Billings Family Archives
DESCRIPTION: Black and white image of two older people, one man and one woman leaning against a wooden fence. Both people are wearing the same outfit, collared button down long sleeve with a sweater tied around their neck and glasses. With his left hand wraped around the woman, she smiles and he shows no significant emotion. In the distance is a two story building and large full grown decidious trees.
CAPTION: Laurance S. and Mary F. Rockefeller, 1982
DESCRIPTION: Cursive writing spelling Laurance S. Rockefeller. The letter L has a small loop on top and an incomplete loop on the bottom. Connecting to the letter L is the letters A, U, and R. Then the letters A and N are connected, the letter C is not distinguishable, and the letter E resembles the letter A. The letter R in Rockefeller was created by two vertical lines and a half circle connecting the two lines. The remainder of the last name is all large loops with a significant line below the signature where the letter F is.
DESCRIPTION: Black and white image of four females of differing ages. All the women are dressed the same and have their hair tied up and back off their face. They wear a white button up long sleeve collard shirt with a white bow tie. From left to right; middle aged woman’s eyes travel to the top right, young adult set in the back looks directly forward, older woman turned the the left as she smirks, young adult positioned to the left with her head facing forward.
CAPTION: Julia Billings and her daughters continued to pursue Billings’s far-sighted approach to farming and forestry well into the 20th century. Pictured from left: Elizabeth Billings, Mary Montagu Billings French, (mother of Mary French Rockefeller), Julia Parmly Billings, and Laura Billings lee, circa 1896.
CREDIT: Billings Family Archives
“... there is a mandate to invent an entirely new kind of park. It must be one where the human stories and the natural history are intertwined; where the relatively small acreage serves as an educational resource for the entire National Park Service and a seedbed for American environmental thought; and where the legacy of American conservation and its future enter into dialogue, generating a new environmental paradigm for our day.”
—John Elder, Professor of English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, from remarks at the park’s opening ceremony.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is the only national park to tell the story of conservation history and the evolving nature of land stewardship in America. The park operates in partnership with the Woodstock Foundation, Inc., and the adjacent Billings Farm & Museum. The park interprets the historic home of the Marsh, Billings, and Rockefeller families, their conservation work and stewardship of the forest landscape, and the emergence of an American conservation ethic. The 550-acre woodlands continue to be managed for protection of natural resources, education, recreation, sustainable forestry, historic character, and scenic beauty.
DESCRIPTION: Colored landscape image of a hillside covered in trees that are changing colors. Bright yellow, red, and green trees reflect into the still body of water. Tall aquatic plants line the foreground. Blue skies with little to no white clouds.
CAPTION: The Pogue on a brilliant autumn day.
CREDIT: NPS/Rolf Diamant
IMAGE 1 of 2: Vermont furniture
DESCRIPTION: Colored image of multiple different colored and textured wooden blocks with lettering on the side, none of the letters repeats. Wood working tools are placed throughout a wooden table.
CAPTION: Furniture built by Vermont furniture makers from Billings Forest hardwoods shows how value is added to local products through an association wit place and regional craftsmanship, promoting conservation and sustainability.
CREDIT: Jon Gilbert Fox
IMAGE 2 of 2: Workshops
DESCRIPTION: Colored image of five people in the middle of a discussion, all people wear business casual clothing. One person talks to the other with their hands up in the air. Two of the people are watching the person talking. The person closest to the left looks downwards. In the back a person writes on large easel paper.
CAPTION: Workshops at the National Park Service Stewardship Institute bring together people from governments, nonprofits, and universities to share ideas for advancing conservation stewardship.
CREDIT: NPS/Rolf Diamant
RELATED TEXT: The National Park Service Stewardship Institute (formerly the Conservation Study Institute) was established in 1998 to foster collaboration in conserving our nation’s natural and cultural heritage. The institute serves as a forum for participants to cultivate leadership and engage in dialog about present and future trends in stewardship. Programs focus on pioneering and innovative approaches to conservation, enhancing partnerships, community engagement, and leadership development.
DESCRIPTION: Square pinkish yellow glass windowpane. The center of the window in a circle with one hand passing off a smoking torch to another hand. Ribbons connect multiple groupings of flowers circling the centered hands. The glass is made up of rectangular shapes.
CAPTION: "Passing the Torch," a Tiffany window in the mansion, symbolizes an intergenerational commitment to conservation.
The backside of the brochure is made up of two maps, one being a close up view of a section of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the other being a large map of the site and the surrounding farms and parks. The remainder of the page is specifics on planning ones visit and things to do while at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
DESCRIPTION: Colored map displayed on a piece of paper tilted backwards with a shadow around the bottom and right side. Dividing the map through the center from top to bottom curved to the left is Route 12. Route 12 continues with an arrow pointing to the bottom of the map labeled to downtown Woodstock. A walkway follows Route 12 on the right side until the road forks to the right towards River Road leading to overflow parking and picnic area. Below the overflow parking is a larger parking area in the shape of the letter U. The parking lot leads to the Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center. The back of the building holds Exhibits and Dairy Farm. Below the Visitor Center is the 1890 Farm House.
To the left of the Visitor Center is a path to park, passing by a private residence, through Route 12, and another private residence. The path turns down towards the bottom of the map and circles the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center. Mountain Road is to the top left of the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center. From right to left on Mountain Road is the Forest Center, reserved use, and the 1876 Wood Barn, exhibit. This road continues to the left towards The Pogue. A walkway separates these two buildings. Below the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center is a series of intersecting roads and buildings. From right to left, Mansion, a small unnamed building, Belvedere, Terrace Gardens, and Greenhouse. A fork in the road starts at the Belvedere building. The right side of the fork continues to Horse Shed.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is off VT 12 in Woodstock. Take I-89 to exit 1 (US 4). From exit 1, take US 4 west (13 miles) through Quechee and Taftsville to Woodstock. From US 4 in downtown Woodstock, bear right onto VT 12 north. Cross the iron bridge over the Ottauquechee River, bear right onto River Road, and take the first right into the parking area at the Billings Farm & Museum.
Begin at the visitor center at Billings Farm & Museum, where you can view the introductory film, A Place in the Land. National Park staff are available to help plan your visit late May through October 31. The park carriage roads and trails are open all year, but in winter historic buildings close and there are no regular tours. From Billings Farm & Museum, cross VT 12 to continue your visit at the national park.
See park website for tour schedule. Interiors of historic buildings, including the mansion, may be visited only by guided tour. Tours are offered daily Memorial Day weekend through October 31. Make advance reservations by calling the park or in person at either visitor center. Tours are limited in size. Large groups should call ahead to be accommodated. A tour fee is charged.
Stay alert for traffic when crossing the roads and in parking areas. Trails may have uneven footing. Swimming, wading, and fishing are not permitted in The Pogue. Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Consult park staff for current park conditions.
This section will describe some of the highlights of the park, including the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center, forest trails and Carriage Roads, mansion and gardens, and the Billings Farm & Museum.
DESCRIPTION: Colored image of a group of people with a park ranger standing in front of a tan three-story multilevel pointed roofed building. Stone walkway leads up to a set of doors, green plants line the walkway with red flowers. Group of people stand in front of two glass doors. Multiple windows circle the doors. Directly above the doors on the second floor are a set of two. Top right of the windows on the third floor is a circular window. Another building in the distance has a pointed balcony. Hanging conifer tree limbs cover the top left part of the image. Bright blue skies peering behind buildings.
CAPTION: The National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center.
RELATED TEXT: Built in 1895 and rehabilitated in 1999, the carriage barn serves as the National Park Service Visitor Center. Featured is the exhibit “Celebrating Stewardship—People Taking Care of Places,” the introductory film A Place in the Land, and the park’s bookstore and gift shop. Information about the park’s historic grounds, hiking opportunities, and tour sign-ups are available. Additionally, the building houses the National Park Service Stewardship Institute and other partner programs. See park website for open hours and seasons.
DESCRIPTION: Colored vertical image of two people holding hands walking down a dirt path with tall green and yellow grass on both sides. Large trees cover most of the image from the left side. Trees are yellow, green, and orange. Dark green trees set in the distance on the right side. Shadows cover the grass in the background.
CAPTION: Hiking the carriage roads of Mount Tom.
CREDIT: NPS/Nora Mitchell
RELATED TEXT: Some 20 miles of carriage roads and trails crisscross Mount Tom. Visit The Pogue, a pond tucked in the cleft of the mountain, and enjoy magnificent views of Woodstock and the surrounding hills from the top of Mount Tom. The system of carriage roads can be approached from the park entrance on VT 12 or from the parking lot on Prosper Road. Trail maps are available at the visitor centers. No bicycles or motorized vehicles are allowed. In winter, the Woodstock Nordic Center grooms the carriage roads for crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing. Call 802-457-6674 for trail passes and for more information.
DESCRIPTION: Colored image of a large three-story brick house covered with rectangular windows all surrounded by white shutters. House angled to the right side of the image. Two pointed roofs with chimney stacks on each. White railings cover the right side of the first floor with a covering over the farthest part. Green bushes and plants circle around the front of the house. Bright green lawn covers the right foreground. Tall green deciduous trees occupy the left side of the image. On the right side of the house stands tall green conifer trees.
CAPTION: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller mansion.
CREDIT: John Gilbert Fox
RELATED TEXT: The mansion was built in 1805–07 for Charles Marsh, Sr., the father of George Perkins Marsh. Multiple generations of Billings heirs have kept the 1800s Queen Anne style architecture, furnishings, and gardens intact while adding renovations that give the mansion and grounds their present character and appearance.
The mansion contains an extensive art collection with American landscape paintings by renowned artists like Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, John Frederick Kensett, and Asher B. Durand. The collection illustrates the influence of 19th-century landscape painting, photography, and writing on the environmental movement.
DESCRIPTION: Vertical color painting of Cathedral Rock in Yosemite. Multiple large rock formations clustered together creating a rock face that spans 3/4ths of the image. Mixture of dark, white, and pink clouds above and below rock cliffs transcending above the river. River separates the foreground from the back of the image. Grass and trees to the right foreground with an doe and fawn next to water. Trees line the opposite side of the river up into the front most rock formation. Sun shines onto the furthest most rock formations creating a glowing of whites, grays, and oranges. Trees and river blocked from sun making there significantly darker.
CAPTION: Cathedral Rock, Yosemite, by Albert Bierstadt, 1870, on view in the mansion.
The Billings Farm & Museum is a working dairy farm and a museum of agricultural and rural life. It is a private nonprofit educational institution operated by the Woodstock Foundation, Inc. The park and museum work in partnership to carry on the Billings tradition of land stewardship. For information about museum activities and programs, call 802-457-2355 or go to www.billingsfarm.org.
DESCRIPTION: Colored topographical map on the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the surrounding area. Legend is in the top right corner depicting agricultural and open areas, forest, plant forest stands including the year of planting, Billings Farm & Museum, carriage road for hikers and horses only, foot path, sidewalk or walkway, information stations, restrooms, and public parking. North arrow pointing to the top of the map and distance scale located in bottom left corner.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park creates the shape of a submarine upside down with the front end resting on the furthest most edge of the map on the left. Situated on this park boundary is Prosper Road and a parking area for the Prosper Road Trailhead. King Farm, operated by Vermont Land Trust, is along the bottom portion of Prosper Road and the top hatch of the submarine shape.
Prosper Road is the road to Route 12 and Billings Farm & Museum parking area. In order to get to Route 12 one must travel south on Prosper Road then veer southeast till it connects with Rose Hill Road and Interstate 4. These two roads enter the map from the bottom left corner, which travels from Killington and Rutland. These roads separate until meeting again in approximately a mile where they spilt into three sperate roads, Mountain Avenue, River Street, and Church Street or Route 4, all traveling in the same direction. Mountain Avenue is the northern most road, which connects to Faulkner Park, operated by Faulkner Trust, a parking lot is placed on the side of the road. This park is half situated within Billings Park, operated by Town of Woodstock. Billings Park sits along the southeastern boarder of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
Continuing past these parks Mountain Avenue goes northeast until making a southeast turn and cross over the Ottauquechee River by Covered Bridge, meeting up with Route 4. River Street continues straight north east until meeting up with Route 12 at the southeast most corner of the park. Church Street is the most south street from the other two. Church Street almost immediately crosses the Ottauquechee River and continues northeast following the east side of the river. The road continues till hitting The Green, a body of land or median separating two roads with an information center. Leading into The Green is Church Hill Street from the southwest and South Street or Route 106 from the south that leads to South Woodstock and Springfield. About a quarter of the way down South Street, Cross Street sits perpendicular towards the east and turns north until reaching Central Street. Before the turn Golf Avenue travels southeast. A third of the way down is a parking lot that leads to Mount Peg Park, operated by the Town of Woodstock. A powerline is noted to cross through the Mount Peg Park and leading to Golf Avenue.
Two roads disperse from the northeast side of The Green, Central Street and Elm Street or Route 12. Central Street has an information station and restrooms, then heads northeast eventually leading to Pleasant Street or Route 12 or Route 4, which travels east to west. Continuing east on Pleasant Street leads to Quechee, White River Junction, Route 89, and Route 91. Elm Street or Route 12 travels north until crossing the Ottaquechee River at the Iron Bridge meeting up with River Street then travels north. The road continues around the boundary of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park separating this area from the Billings Farm & Museum. At the northern connector of these two areas, River Road heads north east crossing over the Barnard Brook. Route 12 continues northwest for approximately a half of mile until turning north which the road separates into two different roads, Pomfret Road (north) and Gulf Stream Road or Route 12 (northwest). Gulf Stream Road or Route 12 leads to Appalachian Trail (3 mi / 5 km), Prosper Road trailhead (3.4 mi / 5.4 km), and to Barnard and Bethel.
At the top of the map it is noted that driving to Prosper Road trailhead from Billings Farm & Museum parking area drive north on Route 12 2.7 miles and turn left on Prosper Road. Drive 0.7 mile to trailhead on left.
A black square around the National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center and the Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center. There is a note stating "See detail map at left" which was described eariler.
The Ottaquechee River follows along the roadways from the southwest corner of the map, travels around the parks till the eastern most barrier of Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and then continues east. Diverting to the south through Woodstock is the Kedron Brook. Ottaquechee River connects to Barnard Brook at the northeastern most point of the historical park boundary and then continues north following Route 12.
More specific information of what can be found within park boundary can be found in the "MAP: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park" section. More specific information of what can be found within surrounding farm and park boundaries can be found in the "MAP: Surrounding area" section.
At the top right of the page outside of the map is the map legend for Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and the surrounding area. The legend consist of three columns of boxes displaying the feature and pictographs with the description next to the box.
The first column consist three boxes:
• First box is pale yellow in color blank box and represents agricultural and open areas.
• Second box is light green in color blank box and represents forest.
• Third box is light green in color with the words Red Pine 1897 in the center and represents planted forest stands with date of planting.
The second column consist four boxes:
• First box is pale green in color blank box and represents Billings Farm & Museum.
• Second box is light green in color with a white line horizontally in the center and represents carriage road hikers and horses only.
• Third box is light green in color with a dotted line horizontally in the center and represents foot path.
• Fourth box is transparent with a yellow line horizontally in the center and represents sidewalk or walkway.
The third column consist three pictographs:
• First pictograph is a black square with rounded corners and a white circle with a white question mark in the center, designating information.
• Second pictograph is a black square with rounded corners and a white woman and man with a vertical line between them, designating restrooms.
• Third pictograph is a black square with rounded corners and a white capital P, designating public parking.
The bottom left corner of the map is a north arrow pointing to straight up. Two distance scales depict 0.1 and 0.2 kilometers and 0.1 and 0.2 miles.
Multiple carriage roads are shown throughout the map, these roads are only able to be accessed by hikers and horses. McKenzie Road starts on the southwestern boundary and continues east until joining into a series of different nonlabelled roads going throughout the historical park. The northern road is North Ridge Loop. The road in the center that circles The Pogue, a body of water, is named Pogue Loop. Leading south is Mount Tom Road. All the centralized roads eventually lead to Mountain Road that travels to the eastern most part of the park.
Trails or foot paths are scattered throughout the historical park. Some trails lead into the surrounding parks.
The National Park Carriage Barn Visitor Center, found in the eastern most boundary, has information and restrooms. Planted forest stands with dates of planting and buildings traveling the park boundary clockwise are:
Surrounding the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park are various parks and farms. Below is a list of these areas and their amenities, starting from the southwest corner of the map and ending in the southeast corner.
This park is one of over 400 units in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit www.nps.gov.
ADDRESS: 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, VT 05091
Lat. 43.6325, Long. -72.5165
PHONE: 802-457-3368, extension 222