SCA Crew repairing damage from Hurricane Irene
PITTSGROVE – About 5 feet of water flooded nearly a mile of the Long Trail in Parvin State Park during Hurricane Irene in 2011. Today, that stretch of the 2.7-mile-long trail still remains closed.
Long after the water receded, overgrown vegetation covers where the trail once led visitors.
But help came this week from a student conservation group whose members arrived from all across the country.
A 10-member team from the Student Conservation Association has been cutting away at the park to restore the trail. As of Thursday, about a half-mile had been cleared, according to Robert Zuest, president of the Parvin State Park Appreciation Committee.
The group plans to remain at the park until Monday, and the trail possibly could reopen the same day.
The association’s visit was funded with a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Prior to arriving at Parvin, the organization also did work at the Wharton, Bass River and Brendan T. Byrne state forests.
Leaders of the group said this week’s work was challenging, but they were proud the crew pushed through it.
“I think we’ve done really well,” Student Conservation Association group leader Lynn Green said. “The crew has really come together, and we cleared a lot of the trail, which is nice. It was really overgrown.”
The Pennsylvania native said the trail was in rough shape when the volunteers arrived.
“It was really closed in,” Green said Thursday. “But now we have 5 feet of space throughout the trail.”
Zuest said the trail was damaged significantly by flooding during Irene, although it was spared from other storms that ravaged the area and other portions of the park, such as the derecho windstorm and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.