August 2015 has been a month that few Glen Arborans will forget. We all crave getting back to normal, and there are times that normalcy feels close, but there are other times when our old life feels so far away-- as if we may have to wait as long as it will take one of those great white oaks to replace it’s fallen brother.
(The photo above is of a snapped white oak that still perilously rests over Riverside Pizza’s outdoor seating area. White oaks are one of the strongest woods on earth. They are used for ship’s masts and barn beams, but the 100 mile an hour winds snapped many of them like match sticks.)
We have come a long way as a community. Roads are almost all open and electricity runs to all homes again. Thousands of trees and stumps have been removed and our stores and restaurants were bustling all Labor Day weekend.
(Many recognize the contents of this recent photo of Cherry Republic We lost 4 pine trees, but surprisingly, our flagship store and grounds look just as beautiful as they did before the storm.)
It is amazing what busy beavers the people of our region have been. Many of us are still waken to the roar of the chain saws outside our bedroom windows. And here is some good news - not a single Glen Arboran has been injured by a chainsaw through these cleanup efforts. Alongside roads throughout the township, the disarray of fallen trees is being turned into tidy piles of lumber ready to be picked up and milled. Hearts are lifted seeing that our valuable trees will be turned into flooring, furniture and trim. Someone should design a little branding iron that says “Summer Sheer Storm 2015.” A brand would designate that that particular lumber is the result of the storm and that may be a treasure worth keeping.
(This large stack of logs are along M-22 south of Glen Arbor shown in the above photo.)
The Bring the Arbor back to Glen Arbor campaign has raised $45,000. It is our goal to use much of that money to plant as many trees as possible. Ideally, we find a source of free trees on property close to Glen Arbor that we can just move with a hired tree spade. We are currently working on making that happen.
(In the above photo, this house along Dunns Farm Rd. lived its life in the shade. For a short time after the storm, it was surrounded and covered in fallen trees. A new yard and a new roof and a new beginning. It is homeowners like this that we hope to give trees to. I think it will bring some joy after so much sadness.)
The inconsistency of the cleanup is striking. And the pressure on property owners to tend to their fallen trees must be really strong. You cannot help but feel for them and the difficult positions they are in. Some do not have the time or strength to get to it. Some do not have the money to hire the help needed. The people of Glen Arbor have been so generous with their time and money. We also need to be generous with our patience. There are still groups volunteering, but that energy is dwindling as life pulls us back to normal.
(This photo from the backyards of two property owners on North Oak Street. The lot on the left amazes me more than the one on the right because it shows superhuman focus and energy. Honestly, I would be more like the owner on the right-- trying, trying, trying to get to it, but overwhelmed.)
All of our government entities have really stepped up. This drop off site at Mile’s Kimmerly Park has been invaluable to those able to remove the storm debris from their property, but without a place to move it to.
(This photo just doesn’t do justice to the enormous size this pile. It must be acres and, everyday it grows and grows.)
Many of our favorite areas of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore remain unscathed by the summer sheer storm. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, The Dune Climb, Port Oneida Historical District sit as beautiful and tranquil as ever.
(DH Day Campground was not so lucky - here is a look at campsites that have lost their canopy of shade trees. Re-Arbor Glen Arbor will be working with the NPS to help plant new shade trees to replace many of the lost trees.)
One hundred and fifty Friends of the Dunes volunteers helped open the Heritage Trail. They contributed over a thousand man hours and astonishingly - people were peddling bikes on the trail within two weeks time! But the work is not done.
(Here is the section of trail near Forest Haven. Hundreds of old growth trees were lying across the trail in this area. The Friends would like to go back again for a second round and reduce the blight alongside the trail in those sections hardest hit. The Re-Arbor Glen Arbor Fund will provide funding for trees and cleanup if they get approved by the park to work 10 to 30 feet off the trail.)
Over the next few weeks, the Re-Arbor Task Force will be reaching out to the community for nominations of property owners who need help with their cleanup. This will be done in a way that will keep these matters private. We will also be reaching out to the community seeking donations for trees 25 feet or less that we could move into the Glen Arbor business district, or into a neighbor's bare yard, or even over to our friends at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
(Here are several 30 foot white pine trees that I moved 8 years ago to make room for my house. The trees were just 15 feet tall at the time. All survived the transplant and all are loving their new spot. Speaking for everyone - it will be a great day, when the new trees start popping up all over Glen Arbor.)