Snow Snake Numbers Expected to Increase at Highland State Recreation Area in 2014

"Most were 36 inches in length, although we had some even longer than that. And all had beautiful coloration", he said. "Some of these snakes move very fast, and if your not watching closely one might go right by you as a blur of color before you even know it."

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Snakes Released in Heavy Snow at Haven Hill

The snow and snakes were flying at the Chief Pontiac Trail Snow Snake Event, held on Sunday, January 29 this year. Everyone had great fun racing their snakes even as snow fell throughout the day at the Edsel Ford Barn.

Snow Snaking at Edsel Ford Barn January 29, 2012

The scouts sponsored the event which was supported by the Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA). This years' event was in jeopardy of being cancelled due to lack of snow, but snow began to fall the weekend of the event and permitted filling of the wooden snow snake track for everyone to enjoy.

Families enjoyed snow snaking in 2012 even in heavy snow.

Snow snakes of all designs and colors were let loose at Highland State Recreation Area in White Lake, Michigan on Sunday.

Snow Snake Loose!

The Edsel Ford Barn, which is being rebuilt by the volunteer organization Friends of Highland Recreation Area, was the backdrop for this years' Snow Snake event...

Edsel Ford Barn in Snow, Copyright FOHRA 2012

Get outside and enjoy the outdoors this winter at Highland Recreation Area!

Snow Flying at Haven Hill!

The snow was (and still is) flying at Haven Hill as the Friends of Highland Recreation Area worked at the Edsel Ford Barn and the Gate House today.

Above: Snowy day at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Gate House of Haven Hill in Highland State Recreation Area, Michigan.

Preparations are underway for the Chief Pontiac Trail scouts Snow Snake races to be held next Saturday, December 18th.

Above: Snow snake track assembled for December 18 races. Snow will be added for the slick course.

Highland State Recreation Area is a wonderful place for winter activities. Snow shoeing, skiing, hiking, and more.

Visit for more information.

Enjoy HRA in the Winter

The Highland State Recreation Area can be as enjoyable for you and your family in the winter as it is in the summer - if you dress right and get out and enjoy the beautiful winter scenery.

The Friends of Highland Recreation Area are using winter to continue the work around the historic Haven Hill structures despite the cold weather and snow. Planning and research continues, and construction is slated for the early part of the year.

Come on out and enjoy the park. Try sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more!

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

hh-logo-friends-of-jpg The Highland Recreation Area is a wonderful place to get outdoors in the winter! Beauty abounds in the form of amazing sites and sounds. The clean snow and skies left after the last few days of snow afforded me a great hike today.

hra-entrance-road-010809-1280x1024The entrance road into the park this morning only had the tracks of one or two vehicles ahead of me before I made the westerly turn. It looked like maybe 3 - 4 inches of snow had accumulated the past night.

hra-snow-hike-haven-h-lake-010809-1280x1024Looking west from the dam out over Haven Hill Lake (above) a snowy flat landscape caught my shadow in the morning sun...

hra-tree-010809-1280x1024The limbs of this large old oak tree stretched from right to left and formed an interesting pattern (above). The snow today was light and flaky. It glistened in the sun.

hra-snow-scene-010809-1280x1024I think we're often guilty of looking "out" and "over" and "ahead" too much. Today I tried to look down more and found this neat scene of a tree stump covered with snow. If you look closely it has the appearance of a mountain scene I thought.

For my hike today I wore 2 pairs of socks in my boots, long underwear, jeans, and a warm shirt all covered by my set of winter coveralls.  Ear muffs and a beanie hat are my favorite to cover my head. This out fit allows me to "layer up" or "layer down" and adjust my body temperature as I hike. I was warm and comfy all morning. Dress appropriately and take a winter hike in the fresh air at Highland Recreation Area this winter. You'll get hooked as I am.

Snow Snake Population Growing in Highland Recreation Area

snowy-snake Snow snakes were seen slithering in the snow inside Highland Recreation Area on Saturday, December 20th. Have you ever heard of a "snow snake"?  Do you think maybe it's a unique  reptile that survives Michigan winters slithering in the snow? Have you ever seen one? Maybe you should watch out for them when "Cow Tipping" or "Snipe Hunting" in the Winter. I think maybe their skin is white and camouflages them so that they are rarely seen when a wintry blanket covers the ground... Well those are some of the thoughts that I had when I was first presented with the concept of a Snow Snake. Mr. Dick Russell from the Clinton Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (Waterford, Michigan), and Chairman of the Chief Pontiac Trail Committee, explained to me that the snow snake is actually the main object in a Native American Indian winter game, wherein a wooden "snake" is sent hurtling down a track in the snow for maximum distance.

American Indian hurtling a snow snake.

Being originally from sunny Los Angeles, California, all I had never heard of this before, but I liken it to the "craft and skill"-oriented activity of "Pinewood Derby cars" that I modeled and painted in Boy Scouts when I was young. The small wooden cars were raced down a sloped track to see which one was the fastest. But snow snakes can travel even faster and for great distances.

Colorful Snow Snakes awaiting a run in the snow.

In preparation for the HRA practice and the big event in January, the Boy Scouts held a Snow Snake Fabrication Day on December 13 at the Proud Lake Recreation Area, River Hawk Cafe dining hall. About 40 Snow Snake kits were sold to excited participants. Each kit contained supplies to carve a custom-made Snow Snake for the practice races which were held at Highland Recreation Area on Saturday, December 20th.

Snow Snakers line up to throw!

The Scouts held their practice on a cold but beautiful day in the park near the Edsel Ford barn. The actual Race Day for the Snow Snakes will be Saturday, January 31st, at the Proud Lake Recreation area on top of the hill across from the River Hawk Annex building.

Snow Snake tracks.

More information about the 2008/2009 Snow Snaking activities is available by reading or downloading the PDF file HERE.

Snow Snaker 1

Snow Snaker 2

Snow Snaker 3

Here's a great link to an old Sports Illustrated article about snow snaking... "professional" Indian snakes, seven feet long, that travel over a mile! SI Snow Snake Article. And type "snake snake" into the search engine HERE to see pictures of original snow snakes from our continents' native American Indian tribes.

Come out to the Highland Recreation Area this winter to enjoy the season. Annual motor vehicle permits are $24.00 and are on sale at the MDNR website HERE or at the park entrance for the 2009 season. They make great gifts! Day permits are $6.00.

Jay Fitzgerald


Friends of Highland Recreation Area

Winter Barn Blanket

The recent snow storm has blanketed the Edsel Ford Barn and carpeted the Highland Recreation Area with a dreamy fresh powdered layer of "the frozen stuff" for outdoor enthusiasts. EFB 122008 JLF2 Copyright7 - 10 inches of snow fell this last couple of days to the delight of skiers, snow shoers, and winter lovers of all kinds. The Haven Hill complex's historic barn (above), which was damaged by a June storm, stands as a gathering place for the parks' visitors in Winter and all seasons. The barn was covered with protective tarps by the Friends of Highland Recreation Area in the Fall in order to stave off winter moisture.

Edsel Ford Barn Winter 2008 JLF CopyrightCome on out and enjoy the park this winter season. It truly is beautiful! 2009 Park Passes are for sale now. They make great holiday gifts, and the funds support the park system.