Strong winds and heavy snows have turned the city’s Skunk Creek Greenway Trail into a tree graveyard
By Breanna Draxler
The so-called “treemageddon” in Boulder this year has turned the banks of Skunk Creek into a tangle of trunks and broken branches. Early snows and strong winds delivered a devastating one-two punch to the city’s trees. Five months after the first storm, clean-up efforts are still in full swing, but there may be more damage to come.
“I have done almost 50 percent of a normal year’s business, and it’s only mid-March,” said Boulder-based arborist Chris Toney. He said this year’s wreckage has been unprecedented in the twelve years since he started his tree service company, TLC Tree Expert Inc.
Skunk Creek Greenway Trail meanders in tandem with the creek that shares its name. It traverses open spaces, housing developments, and a research park before converging with Boulder Creek. Local runners and bikers have been enjoying the paved, multi-use path for more than two decades, but this year’s weather threatens the wooded banks and those who recreate beneath them.
In October, an early winter storm dumped a foot of heavy, wet snow along Colorado’s Front Range. Most trees still had their leaves, so the snow collected on them in thick layers. Many branches bent or broke under the weight, and the unfrozen ground allowed snow-laden trees to tip over completely.
“That kind of started the tree damage saga of this year,” said Don Inglis, manager of the University of Colorado Boulder’s outdoor services department. CU’s east campus lies on either side of Skunk Creek, and lost a number of trees this year, according to Inglis.
Then came the winds. Continue reading