History of the 2009 Windstorm

On August 21, 2009, a down-burst of wind slashed across Bull Pond. In an instant, massive pines were uprooted and strewn across the Bull Pond Land Trust property. Many of these pines were more than two feet in diameter and naturally leaned toward the pond; yet the intense wind threw them in the opposite direction across the land and over power lines. Other large trees were shorn off at various heights, transforming the wooded landscape to utter chaos. The pretty area that had been maintained for passive recreation was completely devastated.

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Pine trees along the shore of Bull Pond prior to the windstorm.

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Land Trust officer, Bill Tracy, within the devastated area just after the windstorm.

The Land Trust was faced with an unsafe and unsightly property that needed to be restored as quickly as possible. As the cleanup was beyond a casual volunteer scope, the Land Trust accepted a generous offer from Kevin Boucher and Supreme Forest Products of Harwinton to remove all the downed trees and to right the uprooted stumps. Supreme’s work was completed while respecting good forestry and conservation principles.

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Harwinton Land Trust officers, Bill Tracy and Larry Connors, meeting with Kevin Boucher (on left), President of Supreme Forest Products, to discuss plans to restore the Bull Pond property in fall, 2009. Amazingly, several large trees had toppled just a few feet from a wildlife observation platform that had been constructed for an Eagle Scout Project. Somehow, it survived in perfect shape!

The Trust remains most grateful to Supreme for donating its time and equipment to remove the downed trees and to restore the land. By early spring 2010, the property was once again safe for public use.

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Land Trust officer, Tom Schoenemann, at Bull Pond after all downed trees were removed. The wildlife observation platform can be seen just past the farthest tree stump.

However, we found that there was still much to be done. Many of the remaining trees had been damaged and left exposed to future blow-down. Others had become stressed and were dying of disease. These trees would pose a continual management problem and a future safety risk to the public. Faced with this situation, the Trust decided that the best option for the Bull Pond property was to remove all of the trees within the affected area. The damaged area included about 1 acre within our 70 acre Bull Pond property. In June 2011, work began to remove these trees by Highland Tree, LLC of Harwinton.

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Log skidder pulling one of the last trees from damaged area.

By early July, the completed project had changed the appearance of the area.  The area was no longer wooded, but became completely open providing a full view of Bull Pond from Locust Road. The area was covered with wood chips and in need of renovation.

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Many thanks go to Brian Boucher, Harwinton resident and owner of Highland Tree, LLC. His company made the cleared area ready for renovation and some replanting.

Our hope was to recreate an aesthetically pleasing area that would once again be welcoming to the public. Some replanting was necessary, but our plan is to keep a portion of the area open so that it continues to provide a nice view of Bull Pond. The Trust’s long-term goal is to make our Bull Pond property a family-friendly area where residents, whether young or old, can canoe, fish, ice skate, or simply relax and enjoy nature.

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Land Trust directors, Rob Lesniewski and Cheryl Ganoe, preparing to plant a small white pine within the cleared area, spring 2013. As can be seen, the area had become revegetated two years after clearing. However, much of the natural vegetation was weeds or briars that needed to be brush cut on a regular basis.