Storm Recovery, 1 Year Later

Hartley Nature Center and Minnesota Ballet experienced major damage during last year's storm

DULUTH, Minn.- Hartley Nature Center lost thousands of trees in the storm last year, and the entire park was closed for weeks.

Tom O’Rourke, the Executive Director of Hartley Nature Center says the park was in full recovery mode for 3 months. Work included getting more than 1000 trees moved off of the parks trails, and fixing the Yurt that had been devastated by a falling tree.

“One of the blessings of the storm was the community support. So many people came forward and so many people jumped in and lent a hand. It was a great feeling for us, the sense of community that is built up around Hartley Nature Center and Hartley Park,” said O’Rourke.

The programs held at the Yurt, like community and class room events, and Yoga classes run by Runa yoga had to be put on hold, after the storm. But now that the Yurt has been fixed, Hartley Nature Center has been successful in running those programs again.

“I think there’s a little bit on all ends a renewed appreciation for having the ability to practice in this awesome and unique space, in the city, in the forest, in the woods, which, pairing it with a yoga practice is really really lovely,” said Michelle Cartier, a Co-Director for Runa Yoga, who holds the yoga classes at the yurt.

Though most of the trails are cleared off, there’s one section on the trail in Hartley that is still closed because of fallen trees. They plan to get it cleared by this winter.

High winds from last year’s storm also knocked the chimney off of the Board of Trade building, destroying the roof.

The debris and rubble from the collapsed roof fell onto hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the Minnesota Ballet’s costumes that were stored in the building. It took several weeks before the organization could get to their costumes at all. A year later, around 75% of the costumes were able to be repaired, while most of the masks and head pieces still need to be replaced.

“They were all again, original works by local artists and really irreplaceable. They’re really not something you can just get on amazon.com and buy,” said Robert Gardner, the Artistic Executive Director.

Minnesota Ballets performance season starts this October.

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