Trees fell, and you helped clean them up


To the Editor:

Philosophers can debate George Berkeley’s eternal question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” But the rest of us just have to clean up the fallen trees. Spring storms wreaked havoc across the Island, but the scale of the damage was perhaps greatest at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest (MCSF). Comprising 5,343 acres, MCSF includes 14 miles of hiking, riding, and biking trails, the majority of which were completely blocked by branches and fallen trees. Under the leadership of MCSF Superintendent Chris Bruno, many groups and individuals rallied to restore the trails for residents and visitors alike to enjoy. We want to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts.

On Saturday, April 28, MCSF participated for the first time in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation’s (DCR) annual “Park Serve Day.” Community volunteers organized by the Friends of MCSF joined with DCR fire employees to erect a new informational kiosk (built by MVRHS students), clear and chip branches, and clean up roadside trash. Many thanks to the Oak Bluffs Highway Department for loaning the chipper. The result — well, you can see for yourself as you drive to MCSF headquarters from Barnes Road.

From May 17 to 19, MCSF hosted six Americorps members and their leader. This Americorps crew is based at Cape Cod National Seashore, and focuses on prescribed fire, fuel reduction, and trail maintenance. Working with Chris Bruno, the crew cut and removed approximately 35 windblown trees on hiking trails and shoulders of the bike path. Many thanks to the Americorps Fire Corps Program, Cape Cod National Seashore, and DCR Forest-Fire Control for making this partnership possible.

And yet still more help arrived! From May 26 to 30, the Massachusetts chapter of the Student Conservation Association (SCA) brought five crew and one leader to the Island. They assisted with trail maintenance and debris removal, mostly near Park HQ and parts of the bike path. Credit to Chris Bruno for amazing foresight — he submitted a request for SCA assistance well before the spring storms hit; the crew turned out to be an even greater help than expected.

Special thanks to other individuals and organizations who generously donated time and equipment to maintain MCSF trails. Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation has been an invaluable partner, lending crew and equipment to help with storm-related cleanup and spring mowing; mountain bike trail users helped clear trails after repeated storms; and Tom Robinson of Island Timber used his mini skid to remove a tremendous amount of spruce to open the completely impassable Quampeche trail.

Every Islander and pretty much every visitor to Martha’s Vineyard interacts with MCSF in some way. Thanks to all whose efforts have ensured that this amazing resource is available for all to enjoy this summer!

Alysa Emden
on behalf of Friends of Manuel F. Correllus State Forest