Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve cleaning up damage after storms

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve cleaning up damage after storms
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - It’s going to take several days to get Wesselman Woods back to its former glory, but volunteers were out on Friday with chainsaws cleaning up.

Over 100 massive, historic trees have been ripped up from the roots after Monday night’s storm.

“See I’m 5-foot-5 and look how wide this thing is,” Director of Development Jerry Rairdon said.

Rairdon says clean-up is now in full swing. Everything inside a nature preserve must stay in a nature preserve, so he says all they can do is cut trees in half if they need it and safely push the fallen trees to the side.

From there, Rairdon says they just have to let nature take its course.

“Everything that happens in here has to stay in here,” Rairdon said. “It’ll become food for insects and other animals so it’s a part of the natural process.”

He says when trees are down in the walking trails and in the playscape area, it creates a hazard for visitors.

However, he feels it’s not something to fret about because this type of thing has happened to wooded areas before and you can’t control nature, but this is not something he’s ever personally seen.

“It’s just phenomenal the power of nature,” Rairdon said. “You’re seeing these things, trees that have been here for over 100 years snapped in two.”

Since the storms, some of the trees in Wesselman Woods are now overhanging and some are laying on top of other trees, so the main task is to assess the safety of the area.

Once that’s done, he hopes this can be a first-hand learning experience for visitors.

“We look forward to the time that we can take advantage of this natural event and encourage people to come and see what a wind throw looks like, what these amazing old trees experience,” Rairdon said.

Rairdon says they hope to have portions of Wesselman Woods cleaned up and open again by Tuesday, August 9. The rest might take a week or two.

They are also accepting donations for repairs, like the entrance gate that was hit by a fallen tree.

Click here to donate on their website.

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