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Excavation crew hired to clear trees at Joe Wheeler State Park

The excavation crew should have all of the trees cleared away by mid April.

Posted: Jan 22, 2020 4:54 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2020 8:26 PM

A new excavation company is at Joe Wheeler State Park cleaning up more than a month after an EF2 tornado left behind so much damage, the park shut down it's campsite and day use areas.

The excavation crew was hired on Monday and began work immediately. The December 16th tornado left thousands of trees down in the park and numerous bathhouses and pavilions were damaged.

Jerry Doubrava is a regular visitor to the park and said he's glad the clean up at the campsite is moving forward.

"I am a patron of the park," said Doubrava.

The day use area and campsite are both closed for tree removal and renovations. They've been closed since the tornado hit in December. State park officials said about 90% of the parks revenue comes from visitors, so they're encouraging people to come out to areas that are open like the lodge, golf course, and marina.

"Whether that part is closed come visit the rest of it. Fishing, boating, and recreation all the activities that they have here," said Doubrava.

Park officials think it will take until April to remove all the trees and clear the damaged areas. State park officials said once the trees are cleared away then renovations will start.

Park officials told WAAY31 they don't have an exact cost on the renovations to the campsite because they can't see everything that needs to be fixed yet. They're hopeful the campsites will be open by the end of this year or early next year.

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