Beachcombing after the flood

The great flood of June 2012 is still receding, and we are just now grasping the full scale of its impact. While most of the attention is rightfully on the washed out roads and thousands of moldy wet basements, the trails enjoyed by North Shore hikers, bikers and nature enthusiasts have also suffered greatly. More details to come in a future post.

Five days now after the rains, the first big chunks of debris have arrived on the Park Point beach here in Duluth. It’s a tragic treasure hunt, sorting through all this stuff that was, until very recently, someone’s backyard tree, someone’s dockside ornament, even someone’s dock or home. 

I walked the beach from the “Tot Lot” at 12th St. to the Aerial Lift Bridge this afternoon and found mostly sticks and logs, but also some funky personal items. A kids sandal. Two different empty bottles of UV Vodka. A foam toilet brush. The most bizarre was a stuffed cat with a straw hat tied into a willow bedframe. 

Perhaps most telling were the lily roots. Looking like sea anemones at low tide, these freaky plants had obviously been scoured out of the mucky quiet river bottoms where lily pads thrive. The tuberous lily roots then spent the last five days sending out sprouts out looking for light to grow and new muck in which to grow. They weren’t finding any on the beach

It was an amazing storm. Even along the shores of Lake Superior, the clean up will take some time.


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