Kirby Lake in Belfast, aka “The Muck” is slated to open officially in the next week, possibly as early as Jan. 16, according to Parks and Recreation Director Jim Bell, who said a recent measurement showed that the ice is nine inches thick.

Though scores of people flocked to The Muck at Christmas time, uneven ice has delayed the official opening of the pond for skating. In recent years, two city vehicles have broken through the ice while attempting to clear it. This year, Bell said, the city will use a small snowblower and shovels to remove snow.

A rash of ice breakthroughs around the state prompted the City Council to seek guidance from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, but Bell said the agency’s response was, “We don’t certify ice.”

“Muck Madness,” the official opening event that in past years has included hot chocolate and a bonfire, has been pushed back to February, Bell said.