Intense winds topple some of Grand Lake’s oldest trees |

Intense winds topple some of Grand Lake’s oldest trees

Tonya Bina
Grand Lake, CO Colorado
Bennett Finnell takes a chainsaw to the trunk of one of four 100-year-old trees he lost on his property in Grand Lake. The trees snapped from the June 30 storm and were swept across the street from his home, seen in the background. TONYA BINA/SKY-HI NEWS

GRAND LAKE – The buzz of chainsaws echoed throughout Grand Lake on Friday morning as residents cleaned up the aftermath of a tornado-like storm that swept through Grand County, where 83-mph winds were clocked at Middle Park High School in Granby the afternoon of June 30.

Meanwhile, Grand Lake to the north was hit with winds that snapped 100-year-old trees.

At the corner of Park and Pitkin streets in Grand Lake, Bennett and Becky Finnell spent the morning cleaning up tree debris. Four of their century-old trees were taken during the storm, trees they’ve painstakingly worked to keep alive since the 1980s through to the recent pine-beetle epidemic, Bennett said.

“It’s sad,” Becky said, staring at a massive pile of pine and timber that flew across the street from their home during the storm.

One tree was deemed one of the oldest trees in Grand Lake after surviving a forest fire in the early 1900s, Bennett said.

Although it’s difficult to tally, town officials guessed at least 30 trees went down from the storm within the town’s limits alone.

In the town park, town officials and as many as 15 volunteers raced to clean up debris from eight trees blown down by high winds. On the Friday of the busiest tourist weekend of the summer, the Fourth of July, it was a mad rush to make the town presentable.

A stop sign by the town’s Triangle Park broke and blew over in Thursday’s winds. Trees were lost in places such as at the bowling alley, at homes along the lake, at the Grand Arts Council community building and behind Grumpy’s. Some overhead lines were down, and Internet services were interrupted in the Grand Lake area into Friday.

At the North Inlet at around 9 p.m. on Thursday, a fallen tree threatened to cause flooding when it fell into the river, creating a “mini dam,” said Grand Lake’s Public Works Director Bernie McGinn.

With emergency help from Thompson and Son’s excavators and the Grand Lake Fire Department, the tree was removed and flooding averted.

– Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.