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Volunteers Helping Out To Clear Trail

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It's called the Keystone Ancient Forest Trail and the first open house is set for next weekend, but it could be a short celebration if the trails are covered with broken tree branches. It's called the Keystone Ancient Forest Trail and the first open house is set for next weekend, but it could be a short celebration if the trails are covered with broken tree branches.
The crack of the wood and buzz of the chainsaw, another day, post ice storm, has volunteers out, practically in the middle of nowhere. The crack of the wood and buzz of the chainsaw, another day, post ice storm, has volunteers out, practically in the middle of nowhere.
They still plan to have that open house next Saturday, it starts at 10 a.m. They still plan to have that open house next Saturday, it starts at 10 a.m.

There's a lot of work for park directors across Green Country.  The News On 6's Dan Bewley caught up with a bunch of volunteers in Sand Springs clearing one of the area's newest hiking trails.  It's called the Keystone Ancient Forest Trail and the first open house is set for next weekend, but it could be a short celebration if the trails are covered with broken tree branches.

The crack of the wood and buzz of the chainsaw, another day, post ice storm, has volunteers out, practically in the middle of nowhere.

"You are standing in an old growth forest," said Parks and Recreation Director Grant Gerondale.

Mostly Red Cedar and Post Oak trees believed to be more than 400 years old.

"A significant, undisturbed forest that was purchased by the state of Oklahoma about nine years ago," said Gerondale.

Nearly two miles of hiking trails is now called the Keystone Ancient Forest Trail.

"It looked great a month and a half ago, but it's a mess now and Mother Nature just scattered branches everywhere," said Gerondale.

With the clock ticking down to next Saturday's open house

"So we need to get the trails cleared so the people can come out. We've had a real good turnout," said Jane Knoten.

Sand Springs Parks and Recreation Department put out the call for volunteers.

"I think it's great they're trying to start up the Ancient Forest Trail system," said Maggie Vinson.

They started at the parking lot, slowly made their way down the trail.  Tugging and pulling, cutting and throwing, clearing as much as possible.

"There are danglers fifty feet up in the air that we just don't have the equipment or the ability to reach," said Gerondale.

Volunteer Maggie Vinson has seen something like this before. She studied the rain forest in Australia at the same time a hurricane wiped out thousands of trees. Despite the devastation, she says there's good news; nature will find a way to bounce back.

"Most of the trees will probably do alright unless if they've been split down the center or snapped off low to the ground," said Vinson.

Sand Springs residents who still need to dispose of their own tree debris can take it to the STAR Center on Highway 51; just bring your current utility bill to get access.

They still plan to have that open house next Saturday, it starts at 10 a.m.

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