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Hurricane Irene and the Center

The Outdoor Center was extremely fortunate in our interactions with Hurricane Irene the last weekend of August. We all had braced for the storm and what we assumed would be a long power outage, lots of work on the trails, and struggles with known wet areas around campus. We got ready, watched the radar, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

By the late afternoon, it became apparent that the fickle winds of the storm were veering west, over the Champlain Valley. We got a lot of rain, yes, but we never lost power – not at all. Given how the buildings are fed via a line coming over Eden Mountain Road, that is no small miracle.

As we started exploring campus as the rain cleared, we were stunned to see how little the storm had hit us. Several trees got knocked over on the ski trails – but no more than we expect to see after any good fall storm. Some mulch got washed downhill on some of the newly graded trails.

We ventured further afield, and then we did find some damage further out on our trail system. On the bridges heading south to the Village, several of them before the village had planking ripped off that was lost. The only real loss that we’ve found to this point is one of the bridges in the Village. Chief of Grooming Eric Hanson sent this picture:

(photo - Eric Hanson) While the Center escaped much of the wrath of the storm, Irene claimed the ski trail bridge in the village.

After evaluating the damage, Eric feels that the “water rose over the bridge, which became a dam for floating trees, and one side that did not have stone or cement foundation washed out.” So we’ll have to get that repaired before the winter, but it seems that we should be able to manage that. That’s easily the worst damage we’ve suffered – nothing else comes close.

…which is quite remarkable really. I don’t know how many of you have seen the pictures of some of the other parts of the state, but they’re shocking. We were very fortunate.

It’s this awareness of our good fortune that motivates us to take what steps we can to help some of the communities that were hit hard by the storm. That’s why as part of this weekend’s celebration of the harvest, we are organizing a food drive to help the folks in Waterbury, VT and inviting everyone to participate.

Simply swing by the Center or the Craftsbury Village Store and drop off any of the following food and clean-up supplies, September 2-5:

Perishable and Non-perishable food items only please, especially snack food
• 5 gallon buckets
• Sponges
• Masks
• Cleaning supplies
• Boxes
• Masking tape
• Dehumidifiers
• Fans
• Headlamps

The Center will run your donations to Thatcher Brook Elementary along with supplies of its own. Thanks so much for your help. Hope that you, your family and friends made it through the recent storms safely.

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