WALLINGFORD — Area residents are frequenting Wharton Brook State Park again after the park reopened this week following months of cleanup from May’s microburst.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spent the past several months removing downed trees and solidifying the soil by planting grass.
DEEP spokesman Chris Collibee said a hydro-seeding technique was used to plant grass to avoid erosion and runoff, which would have made the ground unstable and a safety concern for DEEP and the public.
“We vowed to get the park reopened,” Collibee said. “The surface is stabilized and safe for use.”
The ground in the park still has imprints of state truck tire marks and smaller pieces of tree branches spread about the area. Tom Morris, a Wallingford resident, went to Wharton Brook Thursday to walk his dog Cleo. He said he will visit the park regardless of the change, but noted the differences since the storm.
“It just seems empty,” Morris said.
Morris opined the lack of trees could be beneficial for the park in the long run because it will help with the growth of new trees.
“It’s definitely going to be a lot hotter because there will be a lot less shade,” Morris said of expected park conditions in the summer months.
Wallingford Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said state workers did an excellent job reopening the park and making the area safe to the public.
“They were working as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Dickinson said. “There was a lot of damage and work to make (Wharton Brook) safe.”
Collibee said there are currently no plans to replant trees or make significant changes to the area. He said it is too soon to understand the long-term environmental impact the storm had on the park.
“The larger environmental impact will have to take time to assess in years ahead,” Collibee said.
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