Trees take a winter pounding at the Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’ll be more than the usual clean up after more than the usual winter on Goat Island In Niagara Falls.

“This year, it was more severe. The weight and the winds we had with some of the storms, when you get that combination of heavy weight in the top part of the tree combined with the wind, can actually bring entire trees down,” according to Tom Watt, General Park Manager for the NY State Parks in the Niagara Region.

The previous two winters were so mild that dying trees were able to hang in the there, but came crashing down this winter.

“The contrast from last year where we had very little to deal with and this year where it’s a little more severe is significant,” said.

There are still plenty of large trees intact on Goat Island, and most tourists might not even notice the limb damage, but regular users wonder why piles of branches have been sitting at the roadside for weeks.

Niagara Falls resident Mary Strott thinks the park should be kept up a lot better.

She said, “It’s just not being taken care of like it’s supposed to be. This is the sad part of it.”

The first priority is to make the park safe, according the Watt. Manpower is lower during the cold months.

“We just now started bringing on a lot of our seasonal staff, so we have a lot of priorities, like clearing snow. We have a couple of chipping units in the region, but they’re for the entire Niagara region, which goes all the way to Evangola State Park to Lake Ontario,” Watt said.

This week several seasonal parks workers are being trained on the safe use of a chainsaw so that the parks crew can meet the goal of having the tree limbs cleaned up by Memorial Day.

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