May 8, 2009 a strong wind event that was called a derecho (http://www.crh.noaa.gov/pah/?n=southildamage) ravaged parts of Southen Illinois and adversely affected many of our natural areas. One of these area was the northern part of Giant City.
The Makanda downtown entrance all the way to the maintenance shed overpass was closed for over 10 months. According to the Monday’s Pub:
A cottonwood tree with a 13-foot radius was uprooted during the 2009 windstorm, destroying sections of the bridge, road and guide rails.
The old cliche says “You don’t know you got till its gone” was appropriate to this area. I had spent many spring days in the past photographing the newly budding trees and watching the Trillium Trail live up to its name. I enjoyed just driving this long stretch of forested road and watching the transitions between the different seasons. Winter was, also, a favorite seeing the grayish brown bluffs blanketed in a fresh sheet of snow. There were many times I would be the first to defile the hiking trails with footprints in the white powder.
That was all lost last season. Barricades prevented entrance taking public land and barring the people from its treasures. I remember getting angrier as time went by, not knowing when or if it would reopen. The park seemed so small without this section. Slowly, rumours of the road reopening filtered in.
Just this Sunday I was surprised when driving threw to see the barricades removed. I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with an area that seemed like it was never closed. Sure it looked like it had been beaten up a little, but it was still the area that I remembered. I wait now in anticipation of the spring so I can once again photograph and hike in one of the true jewels of Southern Illinois. Share