- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 2, 2016

GLEN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Northern Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes still has forest wreckage one year after 100 mph winds raced through the tourist destination.

MLive reports that the windstorm on Aug. 2, 2015 devastated a swath of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and damaged parts of neighboring Glen Arbor.

The Traverse City Record Eagle reports that crews worked long hours to quickly clear the roadways, replace splintered utility poles and remove tree trunks that toppled into homes.

Glen Lake Fire Chief John Dodson said the work largely didn’t extend onto national park property, where fallen trees remain stacked high and present a major fire risk if left unclear.

“Time has passed and I don’t see that much has been done about that,” Dodson said.

He said he wants areas along two roads cleaned up because of their proximity to homes.

Park deputy superintendent Tom Ulrich said Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore fire management officials will assess potential fire risks this month and hopefully begin work by September or next year at the latest.

Both Dodson and Ulrich said that the fallen trees aren’t an immediate risk because many of them remain green and could take years to dry up.

Merrith Baughman, a park ranger and the park’s chief of interpretation, said that nature will take its course on the land as the plants and trees to decompose back into Sleeping Bear’s soil before the fallen trees are cleared.

“This is a natural process,” she said. “(Windstorms) are one of the natural forces of disruptions in the Upper Great Lakes, and a major change agent in the forests.”

She added that a damaged forest can bring in new animal species.

“So while it’s hard to look at, I think it’s rather interesting to see what changes will occur,” Baughman said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide