Parks staff busy with cleanup after storms

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Department has been more than a little busy the past 10 days or so.

High winds from storms over Memorial Day weekend wreaked havoc on many parks around the city, forcing many hours of cleanup for Parks Director Sam Dudley and his staff.

“The majority of the damage was that Sunday storm,” Dudley said Wednesday, June 5. “The Saturday storm knocked a couple of trees down, but that one Sunday was rough. That’s when it wiped out a lot of trees.”

It’s also when the Bark Park at Harmon Park was hit, uprooting dozens of trees that crushed sections of the fence.

“Harmon Park was mostly big limbs, but the dog park was hit hard,” Dudley said. “The rest of the park is fine. People are still going in, which is fine; we just put signs up that it’s closed because there are issues with the fencing. So, until we get that fixed we are just leaving those signs up to kind of cover our bases.

“Obviously, we’re not down there policing it and kicking people out.”

Dudley said along with repairing the fencing there are sill root balls that need to be pulled out in the dog park area.

The Black Bass Lake area was “relatively unfazed,” Dudley said.

“Which was surprising,” he said. “One tree was on a trail that we already took care of.”

All springs and gardens in the downtown area were fine with just debris such as limbs and leaves, Dudley said.

“Most of the damage was on the trail system out at Leatherwood,” he said.

Lake Leatherwood Park had a big tree fall in the parking lot of the ballparks, and another behind the bath house used by those camping near the lake, Dudley said.

“The structures were fine,” he said regarding Lake Leatherwood. “I’m sure it was pretty scary for people camping down there that night. There was some serious flash flooding, lightning and high winds, just things you don’t want to camp out in. But, that’s why you check the weather before you camp.”

Dudley said he was one of three workers who were at Lake Leatherwood Park on Tuesday, June 4, continuing to clear the trails.

“We were covering as much ground as we could,” he said. “We must have covered 40, 50 trees between the three of us over maybe six or seven miles of trails. There’s still plenty more to do, but I think we’re doing pretty well, especially compared to other areas over in Rogers and Bentonville.

“I actually think our trails will get an uptick, honestly, because you can’t ride over there right now.”

The hard work over the past 10 days has been frustrating, but part of the job, Dudley said when asked about the damage at the Bark Park, an area that had recently gone through a handful of improvements.

“It’s frustrating regardless, but it’s job security,” he said. “That’s what we do. If it was easy they might not need us.”