State parks see to Sandy clean-up
January 29, 2013 ·
Cathedral and Blackwater Falls state parks are still coping with damages rendered by Hurricane Sandy.
Covering 14 acres, Cathedral
State Park is one of the largest
virgin hemlock forests in the state. Superintendent Rob Gilligan says meetings
have begun to discuss damage from Hurricane Sandy and the action that needs to
be taken at this point.
“The damage from Sandy
was very extensive,” Gilligas says. “The blow-down from the heavy snow and the
wind caused blockage of our trails; it caused damage to structures and
Gilligan estimates that the hurricane caused more than
$40,000 worth of damage.
“So what we need to do—the first thing—is get in there and
get our trails open and do some assessments to find out what we need to do in
terms of repairs to things like bridges, we’ve got some trees on buildings,
picnic shelters, and our bathhouse. We’ve got to get in there and make those
assessments for repairs.”
Gilligan reports that there’s one ranger posted at Cathedral
who has been working to clear roadways and paths. While the park remains open
to hikers, Gilligan says safety is an issue mainly because of damaged bridges.
“We’ve got requests in and are dealing with the federal
agencies—FEMA primarily—and with the state agencies—we’re self insured with the
state board of risk and insurance management for damages. We’re just trying to
get everything all pulled together so we can get started with our work.”
Meanwhile, at Blackwater
State Park a larger staff was able
to clear roads. The division of highways also came to their aid and volunteers
have been helping to clear trails.
Gilligan says tourists are still visiting both parks.
“We’ll get back and operating just like everybody else does.
We’re kind of like that here in West Virginia.
We just pick up and go on.”
Gilligan says he hopes things will be back to normal