Hazardous trees cleared at Sandy Point campground

January 15, 1995|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Young campers will again be able to pitch tents at a popular Sandy Point State Park campground after woodcutters from a local company Friday removed dangerous standing dead trees and limbs.

State Department of Natural Resources officials were forced to close the 5-acre site more than a year ago because they feared rotting wood might fall and harm campers, and they lacked the money to pay for pruning.

The Annapolis office of F. A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co. selected the campground as one of its annual service projects and sent a four-man crew to chop down 10-story-high trees and trim limbs.

"This is great, great," said Wendell Jones, assistant manager at Sandy Point, as dead limbs crackled and dropped with a thud to the carpet of leaves below.

Many tree companies dispose of cut wood at the 786-acre park. Park staff turn it into chips for trail beds and to help replenish the forest floor.

Last fall, while hauling wood to Sandy Point after a severe storm, Paul Foster offered to return with an automatic wood chipper to speed the trail work.

Park rangers, who didn't have the $6,000 to $20,000 in their budget to remove the dead wood, asked Mr. Foster if his company could do it for free. He agreed.

"We like to give back to the community," said Mr. Foster, adding that he may do more work at the park.

The campground, booked by youth groups every weekend during the season, typically attracts at least 1,000 children annually, park officials said. A temporary campsite used last summer was much smaller, and many groups were turned away.

Leaders of the Boy Scouts of America said the Sandy Point facility was sorely missed last season and that troops probably would start reserving it for this summer as soon as the reopening date is announced. The campground is expected to reopen this spring.

"There's not much in the Anne Arundel County area where you can do much of that type of camping," said Kevin G. LesCallette, district director for Anne Arundel and Howard counties for the Boy Scouts of America.

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