Published on November 12, 2021

Cape Sanctuaries Tackle Major Clean-up After October Nor’easter

Clearing the trail_Chris Walz

To visitors, the trails at our sanctuaries may appear natural and low-maintenance. They aren’t, of course. And it’s especially true after a large storm!

The bomb cyclone in late October that blasted coastal Massachusetts with gusts of up to 90 miles-per-hour did a number on power lines as scores of trees fell or limbs were snapped off. Much of the region was in the dark for as long as four days.

The Mid Cape sanctuaries suffered the most storm damage. Downed trees and branches blocked some of the trails at Barnstable Great Marsh, Skunknett River, and Ashumet Holly in East Falmouth. Long Pasture also had tree loss and was in the dark for three days. Amazingly, Wellfleet Bay on the Outer Cape had some tree damage, but never lost power.

Mid Cape property manager Chris Walz says the worst part was that trails were blocked by crowns of trees, which are harder than trunks to remove, and required the most help. Seven hardworking volunteers and four sanctuary staff members worked for two days to clear out the high-priority damage.

Cape property managers did note a bright side to the clean-up process: the team got a chance to use chainsaws, including one property staffer who’d just completed his Mass Audubon chainsaw safety training a few weeks before!

Volunteer Appreciation

We wish to thank the following volunteers for all their help cleaning up after the October nor’easter: Mike Poissant, David Winthers, Lee Hawkins, Rick Hamel, Rick Walters, John Richtarik, and Bob Loncich.