"This summer and into the future, visitors will observe nature's self-healing and the continued recovery work at the park staff and local volunteers."
John Bracken, superintendent of Hawks Nest State Park, said both the derecho and Sandy affected the park.
Following the derecho, the tree damage was so extensive Bracken had to call in a 125-ton crane to remove uprooted trees from walking trails.
"We really got hammered on that one," he said. "Then we turned right around and got hammered again by Sandy," he said.
Minor damage from Sandy toppled trees across the park, causing a loss of power that forced it to close for five days. Hawks Nest lost an estimated $6,000 while the park was closed.
Across the park, $7,200 worth of damages and cleanup costs were sustained, but 75 percent was reimbursed by FEMA. Remaining funds came from the park's already-strained operating budget.
"They (FEMA) came through, but the state parks budget is so slim right now, anything we can do to save money, we're trying to do," Bracken said.
The unexpected expenses are being felt at Hawks Nest.
Normally Bracken is able to make purchases for the park just by following state purchasing procedures. Since Sandy, Bracken has been required to seek prior approval through Reed's office before making any major purchases or spending decisions.
"We can't afford anything; we're just surviving," he said.
Despite cutbacks and freezes on spending and hiring, Bracken said his park has managed to increase its revenues and did a booming business over the Memorial Day weekend.
"Revenues are up, occupancies are up, (rides on) the jet boats are up, (rides on) the tram are up. Even in a depressed economy right now, we're doing much better than the average person, the average business," Bracken said.
Contact writer Charles Young at charles.yo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.
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