"Ice Stars" Form on Haven Hill Lake

Haven Hill Lake was created for Edsel and Eleanor Ford and their family in the 1920's by damming Cedar Creek, a part of Michigan’s Huron River watershed. The creek runs out of the lake and eventually becomes part of the Huron River flowing into Lake Erie south of Detroit, Michigan.

In the days of the Haven Hill Estate, the lake was a source of beauty and recreation for the Fords, their family members, and guests. Today it provides the same joys to guests of the Haven Hill section of Michigan's Highland State Recreation Area.

In winter, the lakes' surface freezes and thaws repeatedly throughout the season. Intriguing shapes form on the frozen surface as winter temperatures rise and fall. Sometimes unusual "Ice Stars" can be seen all over the surface of the frozen lake. These star-like shapes are formed when water seeps up through a hole in the ice and snow, creating a spider or octopus-shaped series of channels around the hole at the center.

Watch an aerial video flying over the Ice Stars HERE. 

Visit a great lake ice website in Burlington Vermont for more lake ice information... HERE

The aerial photos and video for this article were gathered using a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and a GoPro camera by FOHRA member Jay Fitzgerald and his son Jack.


Although it melted VERY quickly, the 1st snow of the 2015/2016 winter was a doozy in the Highland/White Lake, Michigan area.

The Highland State Recreation Area sign covered with snow on November 21, 2015.

If the snows come back we're in for a great outdoor winter season at Haven Hill!


John Fitzgerald

The Friends of Highland Recreation Area (FOHRA) volunteer organization was established in 2007, and is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt non-profit organization operating under lease agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Within one of the most picturesque, fascinating, and historically significant state parks in southeast lower Michigan, our goal is to combine the former Haven Hill estate history with Highland Recreation Area’s existing amenities, wilderness, and recreation.

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!

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.

Winter Has Returned to Highland Recreation Area

Happy Holidays everyone! Winter has returned to Michigan and beauty abounds at the Highland Recreation Area.hra-office-winter-2007-03-01-08-207 2008 park passes are now on sale and make a great gift for the Holidays. The Highland Recreation Area has many of its own "gifts" to offer the winter enthusiast. Hiking trails, magnificent vistas, wildlife - just a few of the many things to do during the winter months.


Watch out for snow plows as the DNR keeps the roads clear after each winter snowstorm. Drive safely, and at a safe speed, especially when rounding some of the tight turns in the park.

hra-snowplow-03-01-08-199Be alert and wary of deer and animals crossing the roads. Use all forms of ice safety if you venture out onto Teeple or Haven Hill Lake.

Look out for FOHRA members - give us a wave if you see us in the park. Better yet, join our group to help the Highland Recreation Area and Haven Hill!

March Arrives Like a White Lion!

And the barn is covered in another white blanket of snow! Barn Trees Snow 030108

Edsel Ford Barn 030108

The DNR rangers were plowing this Saturday... check out these great shots of the plow and the truck roaring by!

Plow Truck Winter 2008

Eva and I drive into the Highland Recreation Area fairly often because we live nearby and love the outdoors. March 1st several folks were getting outside to go skiing and hiking even at 8:30 in the morning. Interest and use of the area seems high/good to me.

Snow Plow Truck 2 030108