Winter 2013 to 2014 was one of Philadelphia’s roughest. Record breaking snow was the cause of many natural disasters including potholes, home damage and fallen trees.
The Wissahickon Valley Park was especially affected with over 100 down trees and multiple broken paths. Now the Friends of the Wissahickon are beginning to clean up, but environmentalist say the damage is not over.
Temple University Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Professor, Eva Monheim considers it may take until summer to assess all of the parks damage.
“The initial damage has happened. But now when the sap starts running in the trees, and we start to get the bloom on and we start to get the leaves on. That actually adds extra weight.”
Monheim says that extra weight can cause more stress on the trees that have already been damaged from snow and wind this winter.
“Especially trees that have had some wind damage, maybe a twisting of the branches and a lot of the times you’ll see structural cracks in a branch or sometimes you may not see those structural cracks until later on.”
The cracks and fallen trees did affect the Wissahickon Valley Park Environmental Center, also known as the Tree House. One of the centers largest events, Maple Sugar Day had to be delayed due to the harsh winter.
“It was a very difficult winter,” said Tree House Director Trish Fries. “With all of the snow to collect the sap, we had some buckets on the far side of the hill. And we tried snow shoes, we tried everything to try and collect it so it was pretty challenging.”
Even though winter delayed maple sugaring by two weeks, Fries says they are on track for spring and summer activities. As for the rest of the Wissahickon Valley Park, clean up is still underway.
Down trees and cluttered paths have been cleared, but the Friends of the Wissahickon are advising park goers to be patient while they clean up paths and revitalize plants.
– Text, images and video by Logan Wilson