Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Winds in Wildwood: Bad News and Good News

The wind storms the last weekend in June, 2012, caused quite extensive damage to the large trees that had grown in Wildwood Park for many years. Very old, very large trees were brought down with what must have been loud shattering cracks of sound. Much of this occurred on the west slope and many tree tops now lie in the creek that flows through.

As I started walking across the upper west slope at the trail head behind Bobcat Stadium, I had a more open view than usual of the bike path below because limbs and trees had been blown to the ground. 

One of the most dramatic sights was a HUGE (perhaps 10 feet in diameter!) disk of roots and dirt that met me when I came around a slight turn in the trail. 

Then I looked directly down to see that the hard dirt path under my feet had opened up just a few steps beyond to a gaping hole with large slabs of rocks on it. 

My camera could not fully capture the impact this sight made on me.

On the eastern slope, winds caused the top portion of a big tree beside the Grand Staircase to fall to the ground bringing with it a very large bee community.

Large slabs of honey comb were strewn on the forest floor as the tree splintered on impact. What a sad way for those little critters to have to break-up housekeeping.

Oh, I did promise some good news - It is very interesting and heartening to see what wasn't damaged: Before the winds, a huge old tree grew at the end of a wooden footbridge in the middle of the park. Its roots seemed to reach out to invite hikers to cross the bridge and explore the cool, dark forest. That tree was uprooted, but it fell to the side and missed hitting the bridge and a message board kiosk beside the path to the bridge! Limbs did have to be cleared from the bike path.

Losing so much of the shade that cooled the western slope will surely make a difference in the plants that grow there.  Those that thrive in less light will perhaps die out or grow in outer places. However, those that enjoy the sun’s warm rays may flower and grow hardier. The animal life will, of course, also change. 
We will have to wait patiently and observe.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Nancy, for the update on Wildwood Park. It is good that you will be there reporting on the changes brought by the sudden loss of shade. We look forward to your careful observations.