Trees a central victim of Thursday's monstrous wind storm

Published: Saturday, Dec. 3 2011 4:00 p.m. MST

Chris Hansen of Kaysville, cleans up trees caused by wind damage.

Alex Cabrero

FRUIT HEIGHTS  — There's just a hint of pain on Brad Stone's face as he drives visitors through the expanse of the 160-acre Davis Park Golf Course.

Tree after tree, felled by Thursday's monstrous wind storm. Lines upon lines of Colorado spruce. Snapped Littleleaf Lindens. Across the way, the course director and golf pro Brad Stone points to 100-year-old oaks that have had limbs chewed up and spit away on the ground.

In all, 400 trees lost — equating to tons of cleanup work, tons of no longer useful massive trunks and a forever altered landscape.

"The golf course has been completely renovated," said a wistful Steve Lindsey, 18. "I've been playing here since I was 5. I almost grew up here. It won't be the same."

Lindsey was among folks filtering in the pro shop on Saturday, taking a gander at what's been cleaned up so far, and the monumental task left to accomplish.

Stone says 150 trees are now removed and staging locations have been set up in eight areas to drag what remains. It is a job that won't get done in time before snowfall.

"It's almost overwhelming the amount of work that is out there," he said. "It's going to be a long process."

Over at the Oakridge Country Club Golf Course in Farmington, the situation is much the same.

Golf pro Rick Mears says about 400 trees — or 25 percent of their tree stock — have been destroyed by the storm.

Both courses have insurance that will likely help to pay to replace the trees to an extent, but there is no replacing the scenic loss — or a way to make up the time invested in nurturing the trees.

"I don't know how you replace a 60-year-old tree," said Mears. "It's a little hard to place a value on the years of care, the pruning, the fertilizing."

Thursday's storm knocked out thousands and thousand of trees on public and private property from Salt Lake City north to Ogden. Trees crashed into homes, onto cars, a limb fell on a teenage boy critically injuring him, and trees took out power lines.

By Saturday evening, an estimated 400 customers of Rocky Mountain Power were weathering day three of the outage — most of them in Weber and Davis counties.

Spokesman Jeff Hymas said it is slower process to get power back in many of these cases because there may be problems in back yards. In some of the instances, one fix won't restore power to an entire section of homes.

Others, too, are waiting for power to be restored because of a damaged meter that is the homeowner's responsibility and a problem that must be tackled by a licensed electrician.

Information is available at the company's website to guide homeowners.

Lynn Conrad, of Kaysville, said he and his neighbors on Bedford Drive have been attempting to clear debris and repair roofs as the power outages continued into a third day. Some 1,000 homes may be affected.

"They're saying, maybe, in 48 hours, we'll have power. We'll see," Conrad said. "That's the real concern right now, without power, we'll have frozen pipes."

The long process of community and private cleanups continued Saturday in chilling cold and amid a strong wind warning issued by the National Weather Service for Davis County. While it gusted in some places, Saturday's winds were a feeble puff compared to the 102 mph gusts clocked earlier this week.

Cities, with some of the storm's immediacy already cleared away, were left to take stock of damage and do what could be done to help residents. Early estimates put damage in excess of $20 million to both private and public property in Davis County.

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