A heavy storm with winds over 60 mph blew through the Clermont area on Tuesday, June 26, which caused some damage throughout Bernheim. The greatest damage was to our collection of Virginia pines, particularly around the Big Prairie Overlook and around the entrance to Guerilla Hollow.
The Bernheim team is already working hard to assess the damage and start to clear out any debris, but it will take time. As of Friday, July 6, Guerilla Hollow (including the Children’s Play Garden) is now OPEN. However, the Sun and Shade Loop remain closed because it is currently impassible. Stay tuned to social media (@bernheimforest) and our website for updates.
In keeping with the mission of Bernheim, all of the fallen trees will be replaced, and we will recycle as much of the fallen timber as possible, whether through chipping, which we will use as mulch, or through transforming it into play pieces at the Children’s Play Garden.
We estimate that we lost over 50 trees in Tuesday’s storm, and are still discovering more. Those that fall in the arboretum will be removed. The trees that fell on any of our 40+ miles of hiking trails will have the sections blocking trail access removed, and the rest will be left to decompose and provide nutrients back into the forest.
You may also see ribbons around trees throughout Bernheim. Staff has been diligently working to mark trees that may need removal. The safety of our visitors is always our first priority, so our expert staff is working hard to determine which trees may be in danger of falling in the future.
All of this work will take time and a lot of hard work, and you can help! You can donate to our Big Forest Need Big Heroes campaign. These donations help not only in our daily work, including the stewardship of our pristine forest and our award-winning educational programs, they also allow us to use our best stewardship practices in the clean up after any incident like Tuesday’s storm. You can also be our eyes in the forest! If hiking is a part of your plan during your next visit, be sure to let us know if you spot any downed trees (be sure to get the trail name and the distance if you are able to track it), by stopping by the Visitor Center or entrance kiosk on your way out.
Thank you for your patience and your support of Bernheim. See you on the trails.