A view from the Islands

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This week VPR takes you to Grand Isle County. We’ll explore life on the islands and the issues that affect Vermont’s fastest growing county and the lake that surrounds it. Each feature in the series will be linked to this page, so check back for audio and transcripts. As part of this series, VPR is broadcasting Switchboard live from the Grand Isle Lake House.


Stormwater pollution
One of the worst pollution problems in Lake Champlain is also the hardest to control. Experts agree that stormwater is one of the main culprits for the tons of silt and nutrients that have harmed the big lake. But controlling stormwater presents difficult scientific and legal challenges.

Phosphorus in the lake
Despite its beauty, Lake Champlain is in trouble. Much of the lake fails state water quality standards, and pollution can cause unsightly and dangerous algae blooms. How healthy is Lake Champlain?

Seasonal life
For the long-timers and the newcomers, life on the Champlain Islands has special meaning perhaps because of the water, the weather, the fishing or the farming. Grand Isle County is an unusual melting pot.

Development pressures
The Champlain Islands have long been known as a quiet and rural place. But now, Grand Isle has become Vermont’s fastest growing county, and its identity is changing. Where once there were farms and summer cottages, million dollar homes are taking root. In South Hero people are working to meet the challenges of growth.

Natural and human history
The five towns of Grand Isle County have a unique place in the state’s natural and human history. The region is home to an ancient reef, and the state’s only sand dunes. It’s also where Samuel de Champlain first stepped ashore.

Steve Zind hosts Switchboard live from the Islands, with a panel of civic leaders and an audience of Islanders.

The music that accompanied the news stories in this series was Cold and Frosty Morning performed by the Coulter Phillips Ensemble.


The greatest lake
Commentator Frank Bryan wasn’t disappointed that a recent effort to designate Champlain as one of the "Great Lakes" failed – since he thinks Champlain deserves a category all it’s own as the "Greatest Lake."

Champ sounds
No series about Lake Champlain and the Islands would be complete without mentioning Champ, the mythical monster said to be lurking in the lake’s chilly depths. Commentator Joe Citro has a Champ update.

Southern tip of the lake
Lake Champlain is big and varied. Commentator Tom Slayton is here to tell us about one of the lesser-known regions of the lake.

Swimming in Lake Champlain
One of commentator Madeleine Kunin’s particular summer pleasures is swimming in Lake Champlain.

Wonder Woman and the Champlain Islands
Commentator Philip Baruth talks about the Champlain Islands, Wonder Woman, and his favorite island novelist, Vermont writer Elizabeth Inness-Brown.

Living by the lake
Ruth and Proc Page lived on a hill on the shore of Lake Champlain for half a century. Ruth reminisces about the immense effect the lake had on their lives and spirits.

Bicycing the Islands
Commentator Jules Older looks at the lake from a bicycle seat.

Related links:
Lake Champlain Basin Program
Lake Champlain Islands Chamber of Commerce
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
State parks in northwest Vermont

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