The winds from Hurricane Sandy left our area with plenty of downed trees and power-lines; roof, house, car, sidewalk and trail damages. Fortunately, flooding did not occur, as the 8 inches of rain forecasted for the Lehigh Valley never materialized and we only received 1-2 inches.
Two weeks later, almost all power has been restored and many homeowners have cleaned up the messes from fallen and cracked trees. Roofers and tree trimming services have been kept super busy. State, county, local municipality workers and volunteer groups have been overwhelmed with road and park clean-ups and have much more work to do.
Many of our parks, hiking trails and rail-trails have been littered with thousands of fallen trees and branches. Crews will get to cleaning up these areas but it will take time as priorities are presently elsewhere.
Workers usually try to make main trails passable, then as time permits they will open them up fully by chipping branches and removing firewood. Lesser-used and side trails will then follow. But, it could take weeks and even months as clean-ups will continue.
So, if you are heading out to hike or bike ride on any trail please be careful and smart. You may have to do some tree hopping and trail skirting.
The Lehigh Canal Towpath (D&L Trail) through Allentown, Bethlehem, Freemansburg, Bethlehem Township and Palmer Township, and the Palmer Bike Trail were hit especially hard as many who ventured out this past weekend with the nice weather discovered. There are still plenty of downed trees on these trails.
Other places that have fallen trees on the trails are the Delaware Canal Towpath (D&L Trail) south of Easton and sections of the Appalachian Trail through eastern PA and western NJ. Luckily the Delaware Canal did not suffer any major structural damage.
Some roads, areas, and trails in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area still remain closed due to damage from Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. Most certainly there are additional areas with damages from Hurricane Sandy. Check the NPS website for updates on the DWGNRA.
Here’s a friendly thing that you can do to help out when you’re out on our trails and towpaths. There are still millions of small branches strewn on them. They can be picked up easily and thrown to the side. We can all help make our trails passable again.
There is plenty of firewood out there. Get permission before taking any wood. Don’t trespass on private property.
One further note; many of the downed trees have poison ivy vines on them. You can still get a rash from them even though there are no leaves or green growth on them. Poison ivy vines on trees have a furry “raggy” appearance. Be extremely careful if handling or climbing over these trees if you are sensitive to poison ivy.