Trails at the Dr. Victor Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga, closed since the October snowstorm, will reopen today.
At first the trails were impassable, said Meaghan Boice-Green, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. DEC crews came in and cleared limbs from the trails, she said.
After the trails were passable, she said, "We went out with a forester to determine if they were safe or not." The forester found many broken, hanging branches, to be cut or to fall to the ground, making a walk on the trails treacherous. One of the branches came down in front of an employee recently, she said. So the trails were closed.
The state has hired a contractor for $44,000 to clear the hanging branches from the eight miles of trails in the 292-acre preserve.
Today's event at the preserve is the Solstice Stroll at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday there will be a guided tour at 10 a.m. Self-guided trails will be available Tuesday through Thursday. And beginning Jan. 2, self-guided trails will be available 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The preserve's environmental education center, which was under construction, received minor damage to its air conditioner during the storm. Work was interrupted while the area was cleared of branches and brush.
The $1.7 million building is nearly finished, and the staff is expected to move in within several weeks. Office furniture is to arrive in February, Boice-Green said. A grand opening will be held next year.
The center is the fourth full-service environmental education center operated by the DEC.