COLTON - The campsites at Higley Flow State Park silently await spring under a blanket of snow.
The weather may be chilly and the snow deep, but work on the Higley Trails Lodge, located just off the winter parking lot has heated up. The lodge, which will serve as a four season multi-purpose building, will feature a great room, office, and restrooms.
It will provide a location for school classes to be held in conjunction with outdoor activities, a place to present programs and youth activities during the summer camping season, and during the winter months, a place for skiers and snowshoers to warm up, shed or add layers and socialize.
Funding for part of the project is being provided by a grant secured by The Friends of Higley Flow State Park and through donations they have received toward the project. That investment in materials is being met by in kind labor supplied by the Thousand Islands State Parks.
Good progress is being made on the building.
In addition to the construction project now in full swing, the trails are busy with skiers and snowshoers enjoying the recent snow falls. The trails are groomed and maintained by volunteers from the Friends group and by St. Lawrence University.
The uiniversity purchased a state of the art groomer this fall, which complements the Tidd Tech groomer purchased through a grant by the town of Colton. Clarkson University also contributed to the groomer purchase.
The end result for skiers is a 13.5 mile groomed and trackset trail system available for winter enjoyment at no charge. The park provides ideal terrain and a picturesque setting for the trails. Over the years this gem of the north country has quietly grown to be a local favorite, now drawing skiers from adjoining states and provinces. The trails were featured in a nationally circulated magazine: Cross Country Skier.
The Colton Winterfest, Jan. 25 to 27, has two events scheduled for the parks trails.
On January 26th, from 10:00A.M.-2:00P.M.
The Friends of HFSP will sponsor a family day at the park with light refreshments being provided from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 26. Skiers and snowshoers are invited to come out, enjoy the trails and refreshments.
The popular Higley Hustle Ski Festival will be held Jan. 27 at the park with registration beginning 1 1/2 hours before each of the following races:
10 a.m.: 5 & 10k classic technique,
Noon: Bill Koch classic race for anyone 14 and under. Distances vary by age; 2.5k maximum.
1 p.m.: 2.5 and 5k skate (freestyle) races. Awards are given to the first 3 places in each age and gender category. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone new to racing to try it out.