Lost Lake Park has been closed for more than a month now but the aftermath of the windstorm is still visible. County officials say it could be another month or two before the park reopens due to financial constraints.
Fresno County workers are finally removing fallen trees that have been blocking roads at the park but it's been a slow process. "We were forced to close the park because we have over 100 trees that came down, we have a lot of branches that are still hanging on the trees," said County Parks Supervisor Manuel Diaz. The county closed the park for safety reasons after a massive windstorm blew through the Valley on December 1st. The strong gusts damaged more than 200 pine and eucalyptus trees - some which fell on top of restrooms and damaged water pipes.
"One of the reasons that so many trees fell down is because the county didn't have the money to maintain them, they should have been thinned out over the years. So I guess nature's done the pruning job for us," said Radley Reep with Friends of Lost Lake Park. He formed the group four months ago to help maintain and refurbish the park but the storm damage was a major setback for the group. Because of financial constraints, the county had to cut its parks budget by more than half in the past two years - cutting staff needed to maintain the trees at the 16 county parks.
"Personally I preferred that the volunteers did a lot of the work and save the county money and then when people do more work at a park, they become more invested in it," said Reep. It's unknown when the park will officially reopen but the closed sign hasn't kept out people who usually come to fish. "It's pretty sad that it's down and my son and I have been out here a couple of times and we could probably get this taken care of if we just get the community involved," said Isidro Ramos.
The County Board of Supervisors will vote next week to expedite a contract with a private company to do most of the tree removal. One supervisor Action News spoke with said they'll look at all options and decide on the one that will open the park in the safest, timely manner.