If everything goes as planned, one of the most popular Lakeshore hiking and cross-country ski paths will reopen before Thanksgiving. Alligator Hill took a direct hit from tree-toppling winds clocked at up to 100 mph during the August 2nd storm that slammed into the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It has been closed to hikers, campers and horseback riders ever since.

Check out the link to last week’s news story about the cleanup in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, along with some article highlights.

[source: record-eagle.com]

You might recall the aerial photos of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore after the now infamous August 2nd windstorm made headlines all across the state. Imagine what a green forest might look like from the air after a giant took a romp across the countryside, flattening trees under in random swaths and circles under his boots.

Some 2,000 trees have already cleared from hard-hit areas like the Dune Trail, Bay View Trail and the Sleeping Bear, according to the Record-Eagle. But the forest damage at these places doesn’t even come close to the upheaval nature wrought at Alligator Hill. Volunteers and park personnel definitely saved the worst for last, but Sleeping Bear’s chief of interpretation and visitor services Merrith Baughman told the Record-Eagle the popular trail will likely be open again in time for cross-country ski season.

"Our goal is to open the two western loops of the trail system before Nov. 20," Baughman said. According to the report, the clearing crew is confident that both loops and the Stocking Road Trailhead will be open this winter. This includes the Islands Lookout on the westernmost loop, a popular spot on the trail.

You can read the entire Record-Eagle by clicking here.