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Crow’s Nest: Preserve conditions update

February 7, 2014

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager

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We have spent the last three days clearing roadsides of fallen and bent-over trees and these areas are starting to look pretty good (that is, they look like we were never there, but also that the storm didn’t do extensive damage—which it did). Travel is again possible (for two days we were seeing the same cars going back and forth as drivers tried to find a route that was open).

Here Liz smiles as she stacks wood from a tree damaged in the ice storm. Honestly, we cut down (and cut up) so many trees I struggled to remember exactly which one this was. Oh yes: red maple on Piersol Road.

Our work was made more difficult because Route 23 was closed for two days and some of the heavy traffic was routed onto the back roads through the preserve. It’s difficult to drop damaged trees into the road with so much traffic. (We have about seven miles of road frontage if you count both sides where various roads pass through the preserve.)

The ice in the trees has lasted three days so far; I’ve never before seen it stay more than one. Our neighborhood looks like those winter photos of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, or Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, that you see in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy magazine—photos of high elevations you might not personally have hiked to in winter, but are glad someone did. Instead, those conditions have come to visit us. Very beautiful.

More photos to follow, now that we have electricity again.

Since we’re still working on the roadsides, we haven’t assessed or cleared the trails yet. The preserve will be closed this weekend to give us time to catch up on the damage. Also, our gravel parking area is now a sheet of ice.

Turns out the cure for back pain from shoveling snow may just be doing a lot of chainsaw work. Loosens things up. Sleep well at night.

Gotta give thanks for good help from Intern Liz and Stewardship Assistant Aubrey. I am also grateful for the quality tools—chainsaw, power pole pruner, generator, truck, plow, and tractor—that make this work possible.

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