Volunteers spend Saturday removing tree debris following storm
Published 7:31 pm Monday, February 11, 2019
Amy Malone and five members of Boy Scout Troop 638 from Porter’s Chapel United Methodist Church were gathering limbs and branches in a section of the National Cemetery at the Vicksburg National Military Park.
It was late Saturday morning, and they had been going at it for a few hours.
Email newsletter signup
“We started at 8:30,” she said. “Everything’s been going pretty good. It’s starting to warm up.”
Malone and the scouts were part of a group of Boy Scouts, volunteers, AmeriCorps workers and park employees who ignored the 30-degree temperature and a stiff breeze to help clean up the cemetery, which has been closed since a Dec. 27 storm wreaked havoc in the cemetery, toppling and heavily damaging trees and scattering large limbs and branches.
“The storm on Dec. 27 came through and damaged over 30 trees in the cemetery, and a lot of them are the big old growth trees,” said Scott Babinowich, the park’s director of interpretation.
“We have limbs and trees down all over the cemetery. Just the scope of it is immense.
“We asked for community help; we asked for volunteers and we had over 50 people show up to lend a helping hand.”
Babinowich said the volunteers were gathering and moving the branches and limbs and putting them along the cemetery road where they would be picked up for disposal.
“Our maintenance crews have spent the last two weeks just cutting logs in place, that’s how much damage there is,” he said. “We’re hopeful with a little more work, we’ll be able to open the cemetery again once we get the snags out of the trees.
“There’s still a lot of branches hanging in the trees. We wanted to make sure there wasn’t any danger to visitors with broken limbs above them.
“We’re hopeful with this tremendous turnout that we’ll make some good progress.”