City of Red Deer employees work to remove trees that fell near the west boundary of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre during the June windstorm. File photo by Jeff Stokoe/ Advocate staff

Kerry Wood Nature Centre lost over 1,000 trees

Work on damaged trees continues from June 20 windstorm

An estimated 1,500 trees came down or were compromised at Kerry Wood Nature Centre during the June windstorm.

“They had to clear a couple hundred off the trails alone,” said executive director Todd Nivens Wednesday.

He said the last of the trails reopened Aug. 2, but work continues on damaged trees on the east side of the sanctuary along the fence bordering Michener grounds.

“People are going to hear chainsaws in the sanctuary for the next little bit because of the work up on that fence line.”

He said people who have yet to revisit the sanctuary since the storm will have a really eye-opening view that nobody has seen in about 150 years — the ability to see both lakes at the same time.

“You can do that now. That’s how many trees are down. It’s incredible.”

He said over the next few years there will be more trees that will need to be dealt with, but the trails are safe so everyone is good to visit.

A few holes in the trail caused by downed trees still need to be fixed.

“We have a couple of places where the trees at the edge of the trail fell and the root balls extended underneath the trail bed so when they came down they literally tore the trail bed apart.”

Boardwalk repairs are also needed after a root ball from a tree lifted a section of the boardwalk off its pile. Those repairs will be done in the winter, he said.

Kerry Wood Nature Centre was without power after the storm for about a week. When it was closed a lot of school programming had to be cancelled. The centre is flexible enough to deal with the resulting revenue shortfall, but some cost cutting measures may be necessary this winter, he said.

Apart from the fallen trees and power outage, he said larger animals that visit the sanctuary seemed to have survived the storm.

“The deer and moose population is pretty active. We’ve got two little baby deer we’ve caught on camera last week. We caught a big female moose on camera last week.

“There’s a ton of coyote poop around right now so I would think the coyote population is pretty OK.”

He was not sure how the song birds or squirrels were impacted, but a lot songbirds continue to be spotted, like yellow warblers, that aren’t usually seen at this time of year.

Non-storm related work will start Monday on the one kilometre Dr. George trail to repave the asphalt trail. Sections will be closed over the next two weeks.

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