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Ice storm aftermath: City of Eugene closes forested trails; Lane County reopens parks

"Last week’s ice storm caused significant damage to trees throughout the parks system, and crews have yet to get into the parks to identify and address potential hazards," the City of Eugene Public Works Department said in a press release. (City of Eugene photo)

EUGENE, Ore. - A week after an ice storm caused widespread damage to trees and power lines, Lane County has reopened 3 of 4 parks closed due to storm damage.

But the City of Eugene has elected to indefinitely close trails on Skinner and Spencer buttes, in Hendricks Park and along the Ridgeline Trail due to the danger posed by falling limbs.

Lane County said Wednesday that Howard Buford Recreation Area, home of Mount Pisgah; Zumwalt Park near Fern Ridge; and Whitely park near River Road are now open.

Armitage Park on Coburg Road remains closed due to a downed powerline.

“We have had an amazing amount of support from volunteers,” said Mike Russell, the county's parks manager. “Volunteers from Mount Pisgah Arboretum, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah and Friends of Zumwalt Park have been a tremendous help with damage assessment and clearing storm debris.”

The county urged visitors to area parks to remain cautious about falling branches.

That is the concern in the City of Eugene's park system, where staff recently did an assessment and found "a large amount of tree and limb damage that could fall at any time," the City said in a press release Wednesday.

The City said signs are posted at trailheads to alert the public to the closures.

"Parks and Open Space crews will work over the coming weeks to identify and address potential hazards in all City parks," the City said. "This will be a lengthy process. While the parks are open, caution should be observed. Parks that have considerable tree cover, such as Skinner Butte, Hendricks Park and areas along the riverfront should be avoided until all hazards can be addressed."

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