From Staff Reports
Marc Pinney, husband of Dr. Mary Pinney who was tragically killed in the violent straight-line storm that hit the Brushy Creek Park campsite In March, appealed for the 202 fallen trees to be salvaged and not wasted.
He made the unusual request while lying in intensive care after suffering a punctured lung in the same storm, Matt Seavey told the Jefferson Rotary Club at a recent meeting.
Marc and Mary Pinney and their two children were camping in the park when the 90 mph-plus storm toppled a tree onto their tent. The children weren’t injured.
Seavey, the officer in charge of the Corps of Engineers on Lake O’ the Pines in Brushy Creek Park, said he had visited Pinney in hospital after the tragedy.
“He knew I was a forester and he just looked at me and said, ‘Please don’t let these trees go to waste.’ I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘I don’t want them just piled up and burnt’.” Rather, he wanted the trees to become an asset.
“We ended up salvaging them and utilizing them,” Seavey said. “I think it was his wish that not everything that happened there should just be thrown away.”
Ultimately, he said, Marc Pinney’s request had benefitted them because, by bringing in a salvage logger, there was less for park employees to clean up.
Asked if there was a way to identify trees that should be culled to lower potential risks, Seavey said they had analyzed all the trees that blew over. Calling it “an act of God,” he said none were rotten, and all were solid. It was the “supersaturated soils” and the fact that pine trees don’t have many lateral roots when they grow really big that had caused them to fall. None of the hardwoods in the park were damaged.
Additionally, he said that 80 to 85 percent of campsites in this part of the country need to be shaded because of the intense heat.
Now, the greatest challenge will be fixing major damage and finding the budget to improve the park. “We’ve already done the cleanup, but everything has to be redone. Water lines went up, electrical lines went up. Everything went up!”
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