BY STACI WILSON
Back-to-back storms, Irene and Lee, devastated Susquehanna County’s only state park.
Fall Brook Creek jumped its banks, channeling a new route across the Salt Springs’ picnic grounds into Silver Creek.
Trees came down; walkways washed out; and rocks and debris piled throughout the park.
It was hard to figure out where to even begin the task of cleaning up, said Debra Adleman, of Friends of Salt Springs, the volunteer group that runs the state park and its programs.
That’s when other ‘friends’ stepped up to lend a hand.
A work day at the park had already been organized, Saturday, Oct. 8, by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of Montrose.
About 75 volunteers from the church set about cleaning, painting and clearing debris from stream banks.
With those volunteers committed to help at the park, the Friends of Salt Springs sounded the call for others who wouldn’t mind concentrating on flood clean-up.
The response was overwhelming.
Friends of Salt Springs president Stephen Spero said, “We are stunned and humbled by the community’s response to our call for help.”
“It really surprised us,” Adleman said. “It makes us feel we are really doing something worthwhile here.”
Adleman said about 175 volunteers, including the LDS members, arrived Saturday morning and began hauling trees, splitting wood, removing rocks from the yards, and replacing the walkway to the Fall Brook trail that had been washed away.
“Generations of people have shared Salt Springs with their children,” Adleman said.
When Nathan Lopez first came to Susquehanna County from the state ofWyomingabout six months ago, Salt Springs was one of the first places he visited.
The Williams Energy employee was drawn to the beautiful, natural, bubbling springs.
He also wanted to see the water and gas well from the late 1800s that was used to provide heat for the house on the property. Lopez said, “It was very innovative.”
Lopez was one of about 10 employees from Williams who spent the day replacing the stone walkway washed out near the footbridge leading to Fallbrook Trail.
Of the newly placed walkway, Spero said, “It looks better than it ever did.”
Williams’ spokesperson Helen Humphreys said the company has been looking for ways to get involved with the Friends and Salt Springs and the park.
“This was just one way we could contribute to the effort of maintaining the park,” Humphreys said.
Five Cub Scout families from Pack 97 were also on hand said Scout Master Jonathan Jones.
The group helped move loads of gravel and dirt to lay the walkway’s base.
Girls Scouts from the Blue Ridge and Mountain View School Districts cleared stones and gravel from the yards near the parking areas.
Scout leader Patricia Acker said the troop visited Salt Springs three times in the past year.
“It’s a special place because Salt Springs is the only state park run by volunteers – by the community. As Girl Scouts, we want to be a part of that community,” Acker said.
Other groups and volunteers worked on hauling debris and splitting wood.
Spero said, “All of this work returned the park to its former peaceful state. Before the work, the place was out of kilter. It just didn’t look right and it felt wrong. Now, it is close to being the peaceful retreat it has always been.”
“This is what community is all about,” he said.
Sponsors of the clean-up day included: First Liberty Bank, Tall Pines Farm, Heavenly Angels, High-Tech Collision, Corner Cafe, Fairway Pharmacy, Rhiney Creek Construction, Choconut Market, Montrose Produce, Snake Creek Marina and Talisman Energy.