By Mike Groenewold
Many of you know that each summer some of our parks are impacted by storms: hail, strong winds and an occasional tornado. The Park Landscape Services and Operations Division staff members work together to assist park crews with the initial cleanup, so I get to see, first hand, the impact of the major events.
In May of 2007, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area took a direct hit from a funnel cloud. The twister cut a swath a quarter mile wide right through the middle of the park. Unfortunately, this storm came not long after the park was renovated and updated with a marina complex, modern campgrounds, shelters, maintenance headquarters and other facilities. The shop and maintenance building were completely destroyed but all other structures were salvageable. Many of the mature trees, mostly cottonwood, in campgrounds and day use areas were destroyed and were cut down.
Last week, I was at Lewis and Clark performing some landscape seeding of native grass and wildflowers and I was amazed at how good the park looks; I don’t believe our clientele would know the park had even been damaged extensively just five years ago. Thanks to the hard work of Daryl Holmberg, Superintendent recently retired, Larry Joachimsen, current Superintendent, and his dedicated staff the park looks fantastic again. The structures have all been repaired or replaced, and many, many new trees have been planted and have obtained some size.
While there, I took some pictures and thought you might enjoy a comparison slide show illustrating the damage and recovery at Lewis and Clark. The recovery slide show photos illustrate that staff of Nebraska Game and Parks can effectively manage devastating events and with hard work; a park can look good in short order.
The storm season is upon us and I certainly hope your community is not impacted, but if a storm damages your trees and landscape, help is available. The Nebraska Forest Service (NFS) has a very informative website which provides various articles and resources to homeowners and professionals needing assistance. Therefore, I have also provided a link to a resource on the NFS website titled “Storm Damage Series.”
In closing, I hope you enjoy the photos of Lewis and Clark SRA, but hope you don’t need the recovery information.