This week’s wind storm left many trails across the state littered with debris. Cady Hill Forest in Stowe was one of the hardest hit areas which has left the trail system closed.
“The damage that we are seeing is widespread to the point of being hard to describe,” said Evan Chismark, Stowe Trails Partnership Director.
The partnership oversees the town’s trail systems along with the local government and Stowe Land Trust.
Chismark said, “Obviously it’s covering the trails themselves and in a lot of places where the root balls were torn up it’s pulled up the trail-tread… I think we all thought we’d be able to come in with chainsaws and rakes and get this thing picked up.”
But that wasn’t the case, Chismark says the damage is too great and the risks too high, to clean-up themselves.
“Right now is the hardest part is there is really nothing we can do… We’re trying to figure out what the next probable step would be so that we can hopefully salvage some of the timber that has fallen,” explained Chismark.
The group is working on hiring a forester and timber harvester. In addition to the damage, Chismark says the entire area is dangerous, “Widow-makers as we call them, just the trees that have snapped but no completely fallen they’ve hung up on the other trees.”
In the meantime, the trails will remain closed through the winter but Chismark says Stowe will bounce back.
“You know it’s another opportunity for this community to galvanize and I feel really good about the fact that when we detangle this mess we’ll be a better town for it,” said Chismark.
While the assessment process continues, Chismark suspects it could be a couple of years before the project is complete.