Thousands of trees were destroyed in the Memorial Day tornadoes including a large number at Wegerzyn Garden MetroPark in Dayton. Photo by Amelia Robinson

MetroParks wants to help replant trees lost in tornadoes

>> Tornado damage in parts of popular MetroPark ‘extraordinary,’ director says

Five Rivers MetroParks is looking to develop a program to help re-establish trees throughout the region, according to Chris Pion, Five Rivers MetroParks’ director of parks and conservation.

Parts of Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, one of the Dayton area's most popular parks, was heavily damaged during the Memorial Day tornadoes. Video by Amelia Robinson

“We are at the initial points of these conversations,” Pion said. “It is going to take us a little while to establish what to do to help (the community) long-term. We are really working on some ideas of how we can help.”

There are no overall estimates of the number of trees damaged, but it is expected to be in the tens of thousands across Montgomery, Greene, Miami and other counties hit by the storms.

“We are going to do what we can to rehabilitate the habitats and help the community,” Pion said. “We are not 100 percent sure how that is going to look, but we are going to come up with a strategy.”

>> Photos: ‘extraordinary’ damage to parts of Wegerzyn MetroPark, other parts mostly untouched 

Kristen Wicker, Five Rivers’ marketing manager, said helping the region regrow trees is part of the park service’s mission.

As a conservation agency, Five Rivers wants to assist with reforestation of areas impacted by the tornadoes, she said.

“That is at the heart of everything we do. It is important that we be apart of that conservation,” she said.

In the days after the tornadoes hit, dump trucks from all across the region brought never-ending loads of tree trunks and limbs to trash sites. That work continues even three weeks later.

The city of Dayton alone estimates the tornadoes knocked down 1,400 trees that blocked right-of-ways after the storms.

In Brookville, Sonja Keaton, the acting city manager, said approximately 2,000 yards of tree debris had been hauled away just in the early days after the tornadoes.

In Harrison Twp. the old Forest Park shopping center site was used to temporarily hold debris. About 300 loads were taken there alone the Wednesday after the tornadoes, the vast majority of it tree debris, according said Kris McClintick, Harrison Twp. administrator.

The Solid Waste District’s transfer facility saw a 3,000-ton increase in waste during the week after the tornadoes.

>> Tornado relief: How you can help

Yard waste and brush disposal is free for Montgomery County residents at the Solid Waste District, 1001 Encrete Lane, Moraine. It must be clean and free of trash and debris and no more than 24 inches in diameter. No stumps are allowed.

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