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
. 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 Knight Island
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. Vermont State Park
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.