Jones Park Flood - 11/16/06
This flood hit many mountain streams pretty hard. Jones Park was no exception. There was so much rain in such a short period of time that these small upland tributary waterways could not handle it. Many ditches and roads in the hills were destroyed. Some of the smaller creeks downsteam from this also saw major overload. In many areas, the extreme rage of this waterflow scoured out desbris from the banks, which jammed creeks and bridges and sent the water cascading over open ground. Many properties, and even some houses were destoyed, and yet the water level in the major waterways like Choconut Creek and the Susquehanna River was hardly effected. Many of the usual backroad shortcuts that people take to get home were not passable. Even larger roads like Route 26, Powderhouse Road, Stateline Road, and Glenwood Road were out of service.
Mother Nature has significantly altered many of the areas proximate to the creek that runs through Jones. It must have been quite a sight to behold. While some areas have been destroyed, oddly enough, most of the creek crossing were not effected that badly. In some instances, Mother has allowed us to keep what we had, provided a little work is done. In others, she has given us a new opportunity for change that was actually needed. She taketh away, and giveth.
Jones was on life support after the flood, but now it is receiving a life sustaining transfusion!
Mother Nature has her own agenda, and will do as she pleases. I am just as determined!
Scroll down past the post flood pictures to see before and after pics of the Park's return from devastation!
The first creek crossing. Altered, but not destroyed.
Looking up the Creek Trail from the 1st crossing. Like may places you will see, the stream escaped its banks and took off over open ground. The mud ribbon is the trail tread, passing by me on the left.
looking back toward the parking lot. Believe it or not, this was an old dry creek bed that had assumed the smooth texture of the forest floor. The creek escaped its current banks, and scoured out all the organic material that had reclaimed this old bed. Amazing.
Looking up the Rooted Ridge toward the 2nd wet crossing. The stream bed to the left is the same old dry bed that was pictured previously, now scoured clean of many decades of organic material that had smoothed and reclaimed it... until 11/16.
This is the 2nd wet crossing looking uphill. The far bank has again been scoured out and the tread altered a fair bit. Even though it is ruined yet again, it has not been lowered significantly, and is probably rebuildable. However, I am tired of doing that, and Mother has offered a solution just upstream.
This is the 2nd wet crossing looking back toward the parking lot. The large scour in front of me may indeed be exactly what could protect it from future erosion if it were graded for use. I will give salvaging it some thought, even though I'm tired of it.
A downed tree created a wall that allowed the creek bed to fill in. This area is about 30-40 feet upstream of the old 2nd crossing, and might make a nice alternative to the banzai dive into the gorge.
This new tumble down and scouring pool beyond it actually may be just the thing that will stabilize the 2nd crossing area for some time to come. I will give serious thought to rebuilding it yet again, even though I am really sick of doing that. If nothing else it could provide another interesting study in hydrodynamics that could prove useful elsewhere. Maybe we will have TWO crossings - one novice above the tumble down, and one advanced below?!
To give you an idea of just how much water was flowing here, I am standing in the bed rock area of the stream, about 75yds upstream from the previous 2nd crossing. I am 6'5", and the creek is about 30' wide here. The line you see just below my shoulders is the water line from the flood.
This is the 3rd crossing. Again, like the others it is significantly altered, but it is not nearly destroyed. This crossing will not take very much work to make it passable. This is another 75yds upstream from the previous photo.
This is the 4th crossing at 4 corners (where North branch and Corner Trails meet the Creek Trail. The main creek is to the right. That huge 4' high pile or rocks you see in the tributary stream coming from the left was not there before. A good dump truck load of bank run deposited, yet the creek bed is at the same height. This crossing had been filling in and rising almost to level the last few years. It's going to be fun now... with a little work, of course!
I'm standing in front of that rock pile. You can see the Creek Trail coming up out of the stream bed in the center of the photo. This was one of the more interesting technical challenges in the park, and the run up to it has been altered significantly. The stream bed you see to the left was yet another sleeping creekbed that was taken over when the current creek escaped its banks upstream. The rage of this flow from the main creek along with that of the tributary created this rock spit.
This is looking back to the rock spit from the top of that craggy climb. A little picking of the larger rocks in the new stream bed and this one will be rideable again.
However, if you look just to the left of my pack you can see that there is significant erosion. That was the trail tread, and a tricky spot to navigate. The creek blasted over the bank just upstream and severely washed out the top of the climb. It will either require filling and grading, or a complete if short re-route. I hate to alter this one, as it was a signature feature, but it may be doomed.
And then we have the 5th crossing which is barely damaged at all.
This is the Western culvert bridge on Main Street. Unfortunately, the bridges took a real beating. I'm hoping I can get the town to help with preserving these, as losing them would be devastating.
The Eastern bridge was hit pretty badly too. They are both still passable by vehicle, but... From what I understand, what we call Main Street used to be the main means of getting from South Vestal over to Binghamton, and that much of this road still exists. A bit of a historic passageway that should be preserved. Unfortunately, it gets worse...
This is looking East from just above the 2nd bridge on Main (at the intersection with Pine Tree Rd.) The stream you see at right is another old dry bed that was reclaimed by the raging torrents. Unfortunately, all the loose rock a dirt you see is the tread of Main Street, washed out as waters escaped their banks upstream. It gets worse.
As you can see, I spent a little time with my chainsaw. This tree was undermined on the bank of an old bed that saw nothing more than a trickle most times. Unfortunately, you can also now see where all that rock and dirt in the previous photo came from; the heart of Main Street.
The creek - to the right about 30yds - came out of its banks again, and devatated Main Street. The Chimney is to the right.
This is where the Upper Chimney Trail used to run, now only discernable by the pink blazes. This is where the water escaped from that gouged out Main street. And yet, as with so many aspects of this storm, one area of destruction...
...is followed by another area of salvation. This is the always problematic Chimney Crossing of the main creek. It washes out after virtually every significant rain, and yet - while the very base of the near side is scoured out... AGAIN - this storm did not destroy it. 15 minutes with a pick and it will be good as old. The water escaping its banks upstream from here devastated Main Street, but saved this crossing!
This is the crossing where Roller Coaster and Chimney trail meet. This is the scene of the great escape that hammered Main Street, as the creek filled and raised its deck to the top of the banks and took off over open land. Again, this crossing is significantly altered, but not destroyed.
Here is as far as I got. The first crossing on Roller Coaster. The near bank is again scoured out, and needs reworking, but yet again the crossing is not destroyed. Enough for one day. I imagine Main street is utterly destroyed by erosion at the intersection of Pipeline and washout Roads.
In case you couldn't tell how bad Main Street was, There is still about 1' of water below my feet that I am not standing in.
In the end I don't know whether to laugh or cry. So much devastation, and yet considering how much fury there was here, much of the stuff is still relatively intact. I'd have to say the worst damage is that to Main Street and its two bridges. Maybe I'd trade the rest for that to have remained unmolested, I guess. The rest we can fix. Main Street needs heavy equipment.
The Creek Trail is Too Much a Part of This Park to Let Die.
Click This Link and See the Resurection of this Signature Trail.