Devil's Punchbowl Trail restored after Dorian damage

A dedicated group of environmentalists has cleaned up the toppled trees and debris along the Devil's Punchbowl Trail left behind by post-tropical storm Dorian.

Post-tropical storm tore through the Island trail, which has since been repaired

Members of the Trout River Environmental Committee managed to reopen the Devil's Punchbowl Trail this season after cleanup and repairs due to post-tropical storm Dorian. (Trout River Environmental Committee/Facebook)

A dedicated group of environmentalists has revived the main Devil's Punchbowl Trail after destruction caused by post-tropical storm Dorian last September.

The storm's winds toppled trees and tossed around limbs and branches in the park nearly a year ago.

The group behind the restoration, which is also responsible for maintaining the park, was determined to clear the debris even though they were not certain if the all trails in the park would open this year due to extent of the damage.

Andrew Lush, executive director of the Trout River Environmental Committee, which is a charitable organization focused on the Stanley River and Hope River watersheds, said the size and volume of mature spruce and poplar trees taken down by the storm were identified as a main problem.

"We had some very large diameter trees down right across the trail and it was unusable the fall after Dorian, and the winter," he said.

People from the Trout River Environmental Committee repair a bridge damaged by post-tropical storm Dorian. (Trout River Environmental Committee/Facebook)

About 40 trees had to be cut down earlier in the summer because they were blocking the main trail, where the cleanup crew concentrated its efforts, he said.

The park's main bridge, a 20-foot-long structure that fell apart due to rotting when they tried to dismantle it to remove the fallen limbs and branches, also had to be rebuilt.

"There was a lot of damage done," he said.

Repair work on that bridge, which was completed last week, was paid for in part through the provincial government's active transportation fund, which supports priority walking and cycling infrastructure.

In total, the bridge cost $3,500, with the watershed group doing the bulk of the manual labour and non-profit Island Trails bringing in chainsaws for clearing. 

The trail is dry and in "excellent summer condition", according to the Island Trails website, which does not indicate the length of the path.

Trout River Environmental Committee members rebuilt the main bridge and repaired another to make the Devil's Punchbowl Trail usable again. (Trout River Environmental Committee/Facebook)

Another new trail has been created on another property just below the Punchbowl for adventure seekers, and the committee is continuing to care for a native plant garden to encourage butterflies and birds.

With the next hurricane season on the horizon, Lush is hopeful the new, young growth in the area will replace the older flora.

"They're going to be growing up over the next decade or so, as these trees fall down, so the forest will actually be improved," he said.

The lower trail remains closed.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker


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