Salvage logging following July 2013 thunderstorm near Wilmot, Ohio, generates US$200,000 for nonprofit wilderness center, leaving US$65,000 after expenses; official says about 80% of trees were affected by tree shake damage, unsuitable for lumber

AKRON, Ohio , January 23, 2014 () – Most of the downed old-growth trees are gone from the Wilderness Center in southwest Stark County.

A total of 142 truckloads of logs were hauled away last fall from the center near Wilmot that was devastated July 10, when a major thunderstorm flattened more than 1,000 tree giants.

The subsequent salvage operation produced about $200,000 for the nonprofit center, and that was more than expected, Executive Director Gordon Maupin said.

After expenses, the center was in the black by about $65,000, he said. That money allowed the center to spend about $20,000 to replace destroyed bridges and repair damaged trails from the storm.

"Yes, we made some money, but we lost our old-growth trees," Maupin said.

Salvaged logs produced about a half-million board feet of lumber, enough to build about 20 typical U.S. houses.

The risky salvage work was done by Millwood Lumber Inc. of Gnadenhutten under the supervision of center forester Adam Beichler.

Maupin said about 80 percent of the trees could not be harvested for lumber because they were damaged by what's called tree shake.

The high winds and the trees' impact with the ground produced tiny hairline fractures along the grain of the wood. That damage is invisible on the ground but was discovered as the trees were milled.

The 650-acre center, on the Stark-Wayne county line, was hit by straight-line winds of 70 to 80 mph and intense downbursts.

Three separate areas at the Wilderness Center suffered severe forest damage: the Wilderness Walk trail near the center's Interpretive Building; Sigrist Woods to the east with some of the center's biggest and oldest trees; and the northwest corner near the Pioneer Path trail, Maupin said.

The trees fell in tangles up to 20 feet high. Many of the trees were forest giants -- 300 years old, 4 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet tall.

Some downed trees away from trails will remain in place and will be allowed to decay naturally.

The center's trails are open and walkable, Maupin said.

He said center officials also found about a half-dozen large ash trees that have not been killed by the emerald ash borer. The center probably will treat those trees with insecticide in an effort to keep them safe from the invasive pest.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.

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