York County offers a variety of places to skate outdoors, from state parks to smaller lakes and ponds

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Winter temperatures are here. With lakes freezing, ice skating outdoors is a great excuse to have fun outside.

York County offers a variety of outdoor skating opportunities from state parks to smaller lakes on ponds. Here is a list of places you can go to ice skate on the county's lakes and ponds.

Silver Lake

On a recent Wednesday before the snowfall, a thin layer of ice sat delicately atop Fairview Township's Silver Lake, a historic body of water that was formed in 1786.

It was a sign of winter -- a single duck stood bravely by itself on the sheet of ice, as if telling others to join.

"It's a marvelous place to skate in the winter," said Scotty Roberge, who owns a home on Silver Lake and is vice president of the lake association, "because it's four-feet deep and if you fall in, you can easily get out."

The lake's shallowness means it is a good bet that it will be among the first lake's to freeze.

Silver Lake is located on Silver Lake Road off of Lewisberry Road in Fairview Township.

Cousler Park

Located in Manchester Township at 1060 Church Road, the pond at Cousler Park is enter at your own risk, meaning the township does not monitor ice thickness. The small pond sits on the park's 106 acres among walking trails and athletic fields.

Lake Redman

Lake Redman in the William H. Cain County Park might be known for great kayaking and trail walking. But in wintertime, when it's cold enough, ice skating is another activity. The lake does not monitor skating anymore, but residents are welcome to go out when it's frozen near the boat rental facility.

Gifford Pinchot State Park

Ice skating at Gifford in Lewisberry is available on Lake Pinchot. Ice thickness is not monitored.

Codorus State Park

When conditions allow, the state park makes ice skating available in a 10-acre area in Chapel Cove near the restrooms. The park has lights to extend ice skating until 7:30 p.m. Skating is only allowed when the ice is posted as safe.

Safety tips

There are plenty of safety tips out there when it comes to knowing when to go out on the ice, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 

  • Four inches is the minimum recommended thickness for one person while seven inches of ice is the minimum recommended for a small group, the DCNR said. You can use an auger to test ice thickness.
  • Spread out: Too much concentration in one spot can put too much weight in one area.
  • Venturing out on the ice is not advisable. Take a friend along for fun and safety.
  • The ice along the perimeter of a lake tends to be more weak due to shifting, expansion and sunlight reflecting off the bottom of the body of water.

For more information, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us. The DCNR also maintains a winter report saying when ice skating is available on state parks.

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