UW-Stevens Point student staff clean up storm damage at Schmeeckle Reserve

All trails at the reserve are safe to walk on after the debris was cleaned up
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 8:19 AM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Green Circle Trail has several large trees down from the storm. Portage County, Stevens Point and Schmeeckle crews were out all day on Thursday cleaning up. Schmeeckle Reserve is a portion of the Green Circle Trail and student staff got to work around 7 a.m.

“It is a lot of work… the trees are very heavy and we have a lot of them that we need to clear,” said Celia Puleo, student staff, Schmeeckle Reserve.

Schmeeckle Reserve’s Maintenance Crew Supervisor Logan Maier said when he got to the trail bright and early he could see lots of trees down from the storm.

“Probably about a half a dozen trees on the path, a few hanging, but not too many. Most were laying on the ground and easy to remove,” said Maier.

Maier said the first priority for the team was to make the trails safe.

“Trying to keep trails clean for civilians walking around and remove any hazards that there may be on the path,” said Maier.

The crew got their chain saws and got to work.

“You climb up a tree and cut off different sections of the wood and stack up in firewood piles like we have around here,” said Maier.

Maier said severe storm clean-up gives students an opportunity to practice in the field.

“This is a great opportunity for those being part of a natural resource college, for people to get actual experience in the field working with chainsaws and equipment,” said Maier.

Which improves not just their technical skills, but also their interpersonal ones.

“We do a really good job working together... and it’s a lot of work, but we have fun doing it,” said Tess Bigalke, supervisor of ecological restoration.

Student staff will haul the rest of the piles of wood to the Schmeeckle visitor center where you can pick up wood if you have a use for it. It’s free, but they accept donations for expenses that come with upkeep on the trails.

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