Wild Winds Wreak Havoc

                Trees toppled from one end of the Hansville Greenway to the other in the November winds, leaving holes in the trails, imposing rootball walls and pointy wood lances where proud trees once stood.

                “Don’t walk on the trails on a very windy day,” cautioned Howie O’Brien, Greenway project manager. “We’ve had worse, but this last one was a good one.”

                The wind had hardly stopped blowing when the Greenway’s organized volunteers were out with chainsaws, loppers, shovels, axes and rakes. They know the drill. Howie said a storm five or six years ago downed 40 trees in the eastern half of the Greenway and another storm claimed 30 trees near Point No Point.

                After the latest storm, all the Greenway trails were accessible to hikers within days. The day after the storm, hearty hikers crawled under and over debris, awed by the wreckage but determined to get past it.

                In addition to cutting trees and clearing trails, volunteers helped add quarter-minus gravel to dozens of stairs down to the Point No Point beach. The fine gravel is packed into each stair to reduce the chances of puddles, which can make the stairs slippery and hazardous.

                Volunteers added the same gravel to the quarter-mile length of the Alder Wetlands trail. The gravel is packed into the trail that starts just off Twin Spits Road to keep the trail wheelchair accessible.

                Restoration of the Hood Canal Trail after the storm was a bigger job than the rest of the Greenway. Uprooted trees left holes in the trail that needed filling or minor rerouting. Trees along that route have tumbled steadily since the area was logged a few years ago.

                “Trees there grew up surrounded by other trees and protected,” Howie said. “Now the protection is gone.”

Cynthia Taggart