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ASP Offers Winter Camping for People of All Ages

By Alicia Dziak

It’s wintertime and Allegany State Park (ASP), New York State’s largest state park, is ready to be enjoyed by winter enthusiasts! What better way to enjoy it than to spend a weekend or more winter camping with family or friends?

Heated Cabins

The park houses hundreds of cabins, many of them winterized, including 10 full-service cottages that include bathrooms with showers. A good way to find the one that best meets your needs is to check out www.reserveamerica.com. There, you can access park maps to find your favorite location, and read details of specific cabins, such as room number and type of heat. Prices also range greatly, depending on size and location of cabins, and all this information is provided on the web site. Note that in winter, you must reserve cabins for a minimum of two nights.

In addition to the cottages and various styles of cabins, one of ASP’s two group camps is available to rent during the winter months. Group Camp 5, located between Quaker Lake and the Quaker rental office, offers accommodations for up to 72 people in 18 electrified cabins. The newly remodeled group camp features a large mess hall equipped with a commercial refrigerator, freezer, hot water heater, sinks, shelves and gas cooking range. Renting the group camp is $500 per night or $3,000 per week.

Once you’ve made your reservations, the park is an open canvas of winter activities! Visitors can enjoy snowmobiling on miles of groomed trails or enjoy the scenery by foot, snowshoes or cross-country skis. There are numerous hills of various grades, so bring your sleds and flying saucers, and feel like a kid again! For the winter sportsmen (and women), ice fishing on the lakes is a popular activity. Even if you don’t fish, taking a stroll around the lake to see the “huts” out there makes for a unique experience. (For more information, visit www.dec.ny.gov.)

Whether you like winter or not, the cold weather’s here for a while, so you might as well take advantage of the fun opportunities that only present themselves this time of year. Plug in the crockpot before you head outside your cabin for the day and reward yourself with piping hot chili when you return from a hard day of play. Add in some hot cocoa, a card game, and great conversation and winter might just become your new favorite season to spend at ASP!

Camping for Kids

Looking for a memorable camping experience for your kids to enjoy over the holiday break? Camp Turner, located within the park on the Quaker side, offers a three-day/two-night overnight outing for youth ages 7-16, from Dec. 28 through Dec. 30, 2013.

The unique getaway, run by fully trained staff, lets kids choose their own schedule, selecting from a variety of activities including arts and crafts, bonfire, dodge ball, board games, LEGO club, volleyball, basketball, jewelry making, hockey, sledding, outdoor living skills, games in the woods, lip balm making, basket weaving, darts, ping pong, hiking, yoga, and more. For more information, call (716) 354-4555 or email campturner@gmail.com.

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