Knight Island Great Ice Celebration

By Ashley Brisson, Grand Isle State Park Ranger

On Sunday morning February 9th, over 70 people made the journey across frozen Lake Champlain to visit Knight Island State Park. They came by foot, skates, skis, & sleds.  As they crested the snow covered shoreline near the ranger’s residence they were welcomed by a crackling campfire and Vermont State Park volunteers serving hot cocoa. The hot beverages were graciously provided by the local business Hero’s Welcome. The nearly four mile round-trip trek was part of the town of North Hero, Vermont’s annual Great Ice celebration.
Adventurers took advantage of the thickness of the ice this year (2-3 feet), the recent snow, lack of wind, and beautiful cloudless blue skies. They walked around the trails of the islands interior, while others cross-country skied on the lake around island’s perimeter.  Nature abounded—fresh deer, turkey, mouse and fox tracks in the snow, while woodpeckers tapped and red squirrels chattered in the distance.

Many folks had never been to Knight Island State Park before as it is only accessible by boat in summer. Once arriving in the remote beauty of the island, lots of questions flowed about where the sites were located and the logistics of a summer stay. Visitors came from beyond Grand Isle County, with the towns of Essex, Waterville, and South Starksboro noted. Others were locals and enjoyed seeing their neighbors in an unusual space. It was like an old town festival with a friendly community feel.

Knight Island State Park is located on Knight Island, located two miles due east of North Hero Village, across from City Bay. Purchased by the state in 1990, it had been in farming, forest management, and primitive camping by the previous owners. Anyone wishing to find out more information about Knight Island or any other Vermont State Park should check out the website: www.vtstateparks.com.


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