Cleanup Continues in Hamden, Sleeping Giant Following May 15 Storms

Four months after a powerful microburst turned the hiking trails into an unsafe maze of badly damaged trees, Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden remains closed and there is no set date for when it will reopen.

Many of the broken trees have been cleared away from the bottom of the mountain and crews are preparing that ground for seeding.

“As long as the trails are safe, the Giant is going to be wonderful,” Hamden Mayor Curt Leng (D) said.

Crews on Friday afternoon used mats to minimize the noise from controlled blasts on the Tower Trail. A Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesperson said the blasts are needed to remove rock and wide the trail in order to get rid of more debris.

PHOTOS: Look Back at Damage at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden

“Our agency doesn’t want people walking in the woods when its unsafe,” park supervisor Jill Scheibenpflug said. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

The Sleeping Giant State Park Association volunteers have stepped up in a big way, Scheibenpflug said.

“They took money out of their association to pay for training for people to be chain saw trained,” she said.

In the hard hit West Woods neighborhood, roof repairs continue while homeowners like James Moore wait for piles of branches and logs to be picked up.

“I’m ready to re-seed my lawn but I can’t do it until they move that,” Moore said.

Fortunate for Moore and other homeowners, the town is planning more curbside pick-up of logs, branches and large root balls.

“Some heavy equipment operators are coming from outside big large chipping apparatus that no municipality has,” Leng said. “Our trucks just can’t handle this level of debris, we would ruin our snow trucks.”

The neighborhood debris collection will run from Sept. 24 through Oct. 5. Leng said FEMA will reimburse 75 percent of the cost.

“There’s this additional period of time that honestly a lot of other communities haven’t offered,” the mayor said. “We’re offering this extra time because we want to make sure the residents know we have their back.”

When the tornado touched down, Moore and his wife took cover in the basement.

“We came back up there was a tree limb laying in on the kitchen table where we were sitting, came right through the roof,” he said.

Moore said three trees landed on his house, but none hit the garage for his favorite car, which he can finally take for a spin again after a dumpster was removed from his driveway this week.

“This is a 1937 Buick Roadmaster,” Moore said. “I had it around 20-25 years, I restored it.”

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