Before I get into the details, thank you Nick (my son) Craig, Serge, Burns, Marc and his wife for coming out to help yesterday. I believe w represented the club well yesterday.
After gathering at Munford’s we all made our way to the Calabogie Community Centre, where we understood there would be a list of people looking for help. We didn’t find that list, rather a book for people to sign-in to volunteer. There was only one name in the book. We had a brief chat with the emergency services representative who was there. Since a state of emergency hadn’t been declared, she wasn’t allowed to direct us anywhere specific, but showed where the hardest hit areas were and reminded us that Norway Lake Road was closed.
After reviewing the map, we decided to head west on Brydges road and try to help on the north side of Norway lake. When we turned in towards the lake, the extent of the damage was clear. There wasn’t 5 feet of road without downed trees that had been cut to open the road. A little further down the road we ran into a large hydro crew trying to restore service in that area, and it was clear that they didn’t want us in there.
We returned to Brydges road and started heading further west. We stopped at one of the homes in the hopes of being directed to someone that needed help only to find that the home owner, Donna was still without power and living in their RV. Her husband, who works for the town, has been working double shifts and has had no time to deal with his own property. She had a couple of large trees that had come down, and she had no idea how she would clear them. We used the chainsaws to cut the tree into manageable pieces and used the Jeeps to haul them to a corner of the property. We spent a little over two hours helping Donna clear these large trees. She was very appreciative of the help.
Once finished there, we decided to head back to the community centre for some lunch and to find our next destination. We met the deputy mayor who thanked us for coming out to assist and who casually mentioned that a large maple had come down in a nearby park that was interfering with the use of the park. As we were headed there, we got word of another person that needed help.
A short trip down the 511 lives a 72-year old disabled veteran, Ron, who lives alone and trains seeing eye dogs. He has a walking trail on his property that he uses daily to walk the dogs and to get his exercise. He really had no means of clearing these himself, and was unable to find help to clear them. We spent the next two hours clearing at least 15 trees that come down across his walking trail. The trail wasn’t wide enough to bring the Jeeps in, but with the chainsaws and manpower, we were able to clear his path and make it usable again. With the 7 of us and two chainsaws, we were able to get the job done quickly, even moving one large tree that had a 24” diameter.
After helping Ron, we moved on to the small park alongside the Madawaska on the 508 to tackle the large maple. This was truly a massive tree, with a trunk that was probably 30 inches across. The trunk had split down the middle, and we began to clear the half that fallen down. By this time, we had our technique down to a science, cutting limbs off in manageable chunks and hauling them off to a corner of the park until the entire tree had been cleared into two piles. Some of the pieces weighed over a tonne and would not have been possible to move by hand.
It was clear that the focus at the moment is to restore power. Once the hydro crews have completed their work and gone, there will still be a large mess to clean up and there are still many private roads that are blocked by downed trees and many of the smaller roads where clearing efforts were for access only with little attention paid to returning them to normal use. I was asked if we would be returning next weekend by the deputy mayor.
Paul D./Trail Leader