Glen Arbor hit by knockout storm

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By Jacob Wheeler
Sun editor

Glen Arbor was hit by a severe storm on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 2. Winds of 100 miles per hour reportedly pummeled the town next to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at the height of the summer tourism season. As of Sunday night, the Glen Lake Fire Department was reporting that all roads into Glen Arbor, and around the Glen Lakes, are impassible. The Fire Department says clearing the trees and debris from the storm may take all night.

The Glen Arbor Township Hall has an electric generator and is open for those who need shelter. Non-emergency vehicles are advised to stay off the roads, particularly after dark, when downed trees and wires are more difficult to see. All downed lines should be considered live, and avoided.

ArtsTavernElectricity is out in most households. Anderson's Market has a generator and is open. So is Northwoods Hardware, Cherry Republic and Art's Tavern. Days could pass before most businesses are able to re-open. This will inevitably hurt sales amidst the height of the tourism season. Buhler4Glen Arbor lost many century-old trees in the storm. Some fell on homes and cars. According to Mike Buhler and Holly Reay, the damage appears worse than the 1987 storm.

Stay tuned for more updates — and photos — this week as we monitor the situation. (And feel free to comment or email with citizen journalism updates. Stay safe!)


Update, 4:30 p.m., Aug. 7, Sleeping Bear Dune Climb to re-open tomorrow


According to Merrith Baughman at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Dune Climb and Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive will likely open tomorrow morning, since power has now been restored to most of the Glen Arbor region. Many popular swim spots, such as Glen Haven, North Bar Lake and Esch Road are already open, as are great hiking trails such as Pyramid Point, Windy Moraine, Shauger Hill and Bayview. The Sleeping Bear Point trail will open soon. DH Day campground won't open until next week (estimated Wednesday), however, as trees and power lines are still down there. So your National Park is basically open.

Update, 3:30 p.m., Aug. 7, Cheers at Cherry Republic

NextStormBob Sutherland reports that cheers erupted at Cherry Republic, on Lake Street in downtown Glen Arbor, when electricity returned this afternoon. (We'll try and track down video, audio or photos). Meanwhile, linemen are reportedly working fast to restore power to homes along M-109 before the next storm arrives. Yep, that's right, check out the radar :( Looks like rain ... can't imagine it'll be anything like Sunday's megastorm, however.

Meanwhile, Glen Arbor is quickly returning to normal. La Becasse is open for dinner tonight (Call this temporary number, 231-392-2015, for reservations). Beach Bards Bonfire at the Leelanau School will conclude its 27th season of by-heart poetry, storytelling and music tonight at the Leelanau School beach, including some old friends with guitars (Children's Hour starts at 8 p.m., adult hour at around 9:15.). And Lake Street Studios' next gallery open commences at 6 p.m.

Update, 2:40 p.m., Aug. 7 Power, Power!

Electricity has returned to Glen Arbor! We are no longer in the dark ages. 80 minutes shy of five days after the megastorm, Consumers Power, emergency rescue workers, linemen, sawyers and law enforcement, oh and everyone who selflessly lent a hand to neighbors in need ... you are heroes, in our book.

Update, 10:30 a.m., Aug. 7, Bring back the "Arbor"

BringBacktheArborThis week's Cherry Republic Orchard Report, a weekly e-newsletter that reaches tens of thousands, boasts a lofty and admirable new campaign: a "Bring the Arbor Back to Glen Arbor" fundraiser.

"As the story of the great summer storm of 2015 has been publicized by the national media, many people have reached out with a desire to help," writes Bob Sutherland. "We have an idea — let’s create a fund for making sure all the fallen trees around Glen Arbor get removed and then, this spring, let’s replant the key viewpoints and corners of Glen Arbor with new trees. As an extra incentive for those of you compelled to donate, Cherry Republic will match all donations one to one. Click here to donate to the "Arbor" campaign.

Yesterday afternoon's Orchard Report also boasts Cherry Republic staff stories of surviving the storm, links to storm coverage in the media, a photo blog of the most striking storm images, and Sutherland's personal thoughts on the aftermath of the storm.

Did you catch our video interview with Bob and Stephanie Sutherland on Tuesday night, as they surveyed the damage on M-22 and spoke of community resilience? View it below:

RoadClosedforEventUpdate, 10 a.m., Aug. 7, Road closed for event

Here's a little humor for you, as Glen Arborites continue to toil in the dark.

Our reporter Sarah Bearup-Neal took this photo near M-22 and Day Forest Rd this morning. The sign says "Road closed for event".

The event appears to be work crews bringing electricity back to Glen ARbor after a week in the dark.

Yes, quite an event, indeed!

Update, 9:30 a.m., Aug. 7, All roads open except Dunn's Farm

M22SouthReopensHere's this morning's report from the Leelanau County Sheriff's Office: "As of 8am on Friday, 8-7-15, all main roads in Leelanau County are open to traffic except Dunn's Farm Road. This area around the east side of Big Glen Lake remains closed. Consumer's Power will again be in this area today with numerous work crews so the public is reminded to stay away from this area until further notice. Other roads in this area will have periodic closures as Consumer's Power continues to work to restore the electric power so if an area is barricaded off do not enter as the hazards are many when so much work is being done. The power is still out in the Village of Glen Arbor. We have not been given a solid time frame as of yet when the power will be back on."

That's right, power is still out in Glen Arbor. Consumers Energy customers have been hearing 4 p.m. today as the approximate restoration time. But it's a moving target. Other Leelanau County towns including Empire, Maple City and Cedar have power, as well as some households around the Glen Lakes, already have power. The major update of the morning, so far, is that M-22 South of Glen Arbor has re-opened to vehicles. Dunn's Farm, east of the Glen Lakes, remains closed as linemen attempt to bring back the power.

Update, 11 p.m., Aug. 6, Heritage Trail crew hard at work

FriendsofSleepingBearThe Friends of Sleeping Bear, who maintain the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, have been hard at work removing fallen trees and debris so we can ride or jog the trail again soon. The Friends report tonight that two sections of the trail are open: Empire to Glen Haven and the newest section of trail from the Crystal View Trailhead in Glen Arbor to the end of the trail at Port Oneida Road. However, Glen Haven to Glen Arbor is still CLOSED.

Kerry Kelly writes "We had a productive day today with 27 volunteers working to clean up Glen Haven so it could be opened this afternoon. Then we went to DH Day Main which we cleared to M-109. And finally, we started clearing from M-109 to Glen Arbor."

"The number of trees down and tangled across the Heritage Trail from M-109 to Glen Arbor was unimaginable. We will continue to work to clear this section of trail, but it will require several days — and help from National Park Tree Crews who take care of the really large trees that our volunteers can't handle. They have already done amazing work to remove the huge trees that were across the trail near the Dune Climb, and we will definitely need their help in this section."

The Friends of Sleeping Bear volunteers will meet at Glen Haven (which is open!) across the street from the General Store at 10 a.m. on Friday to continue the work. If you can come out, they'll have work for you to do. If you can't come at 10 AM, come later. The Friends will be working from the M-109 intersection with the trail. We will continue the clearing effort on Monday at 10 AM. If you can help, meet us at Glen Haven.

Update, 9:30 p.m., Aug. 6

Karen Linstromberg Soderholm reports the Salvation Army has been at the Glen Abor Town Hall tonight to serve dinner and will be here for lunch tomorrow. Work crews and anyone needing nourishment is welcome.

NoteFromNeighbor-GeorgiaGietzenUpdate, 5:30 p.m., Aug. 6, Won't you be my neighbor

"My tree fell on your mailbox," wrote Bill Peterson to Northwoods Hardware owner Georgia Gietzen. "I will buy you a new box."

What more needs to be said?! Friendly Glen Arbor neighbors.

BearClouds-ClareLaneskyUpdate, 3:45 p.m., Aug. 6: Sleeping Bear watches

Shortly after Sunday's megastorm was over, Clare Lanesky pointed her camera over Lake Michigan and took this photo. She captured the bear clouds — or perhaps it was the sleeping bear and her cubs, themselves, watching over Leelanau in its time of need.

RoadUpdate-Aug6Update, 3:30 p.m., Aug. 6 Road closure update

Here's the latest road closure map, as of 3 p.m. today, courtesy of the Leelanau County Sheriff's Office. Note that M-22 south of Glen Arbor, Sunset Drive, Northwood Drive, Day Forest Road, Dunn's Farm Rd., and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are closed — in large part because crews are re-installing electricity wires to get back power.

Update, 3 p.m., Aug. 6 Stories from the storm

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 3.03.09 PMThis morning I appeared on the Traverse City-based Up North Media Center's "Briefing Room" to talk about the storm's impact on Glen Arbor, and how the townspeople are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. And I was just interviewed by Interlochen Public Radio's Peter Payette about the same. That clip should air tonight on IPR.
Stories From The StormJacob Wheeler ( Glen Arbor Sun & The Betsie Current) talks about the devastating storm damage in Glen Arbor and tells the story of a man rescued from near death under a tree by his heroic neighbors. Watch The Briefing Room tonight at 7:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. on UpNorthTV Channel 189.

Posted by UpNorth Media Center on Thursday, August 6, 2015
Update, 2:30 p.m., Aug 6: Glen Arbor is open for business!

Water2Look up and down M-22 today, and you wouldn't know that a megastorm Sunday brought Glen Arbor to its knees. Glen Arbor is open for business! Crystal River Outfitters is renting bikes and sending kayakers down the Crystal River, which has been cleared of fallen trees. The Cottonseed is selling high-end women's clothing. Beautiful art is for sale at the galleries on Lake Street and M-109, and Great Lakes Tea & Spice is handing out free water bottles, courtesy of Ice Mountain (the Township Hall and Northwoods Hardware has it too). With the exception of Art's Tavern, which has a generator, only restaurants remain closed today. Downed trees, closed roads, no power, but this show will go on.

In other news of Glen Arbor's resilience, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail between Glen Arbor and Port Oneida is now open. The Beach Bards bonfire WILL hold its poetry circle on Friday night at the Leelanau School, Lake Street Studios' gallery opening WILL take place Friday at 6, and Sunday's Manitou Music Festival concert featuring the Accidentals will happen at the Studio Stage. Open for business.

Update, 11:30 a.m., Aug. 6, National Park visitors center re-opens; Glen Haven re-opens tomorrow

GlenHaven-ShannonRodgersAccording to Merrith Baughmann, chief interpreter at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, "Power has been restored to the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire and it is now open. Crews are completing the clean-up of the Glen Haven Historic Village and Maritime Museum today. Those areas will reopen tomorrow, August 7. Due to safety concerns and lack of facilities, the following areas remain closed: the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive; Dune Climb and Dune Trail; and DH Day Campground and Group Campground. Numerous Lakeshore trails are also closed due to extensive tree damage. At this time, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail is open only from the Crystal River Trailhead to Port Oneida Road. ... The Lakeshore is asking the public not enter closed areas. These areas may still contain downed power lines and hazardous trees. By entering closed areas they are endangering themselves and the work crews. Also, when people enter areas with crews, work must stop - causing delays in the reopening of Lakeshore attractions. People entering closed areas may be ticketed by Lakeshore Law Enforcement Officers."

Update, 11:15 a.m., Aug. 6, Leelanau School gym opens showers, restrooms to public

Julie Povolo at the Leelanau School reports that "our gym is open to the public for showers and restrooms." The school is located one mile north of Glen Arbor on M-22. Drive down One Old Homestead road and take the first driveway after the maintenance/recycling dropoff, to access the gym.

Update, 11 a.m., Aug. 6, Roads closed as power crews work to repair lines

BrotschulTreeCutterHere is Leelanau County Undersheriff Steve Morgan's report this morning on the Leelanau County Sheriff's blog: "Although most power has been restored around Cedar and Maple City, the Glen Arbor/Glen Lake area remains without power and many roads in that area are still partially blocked by fallen trees. Dunn's Farm Road north of Trumbull Road remains completely closed as power crews are working hard to repair lines in this area. M22 north of Sunset remains closed as well. Both of these areas have many downed power lines and broken power poles as well as numerous trees still blocking the roadways. We would ask the citizens if you see barricades prohibiting travel into an area that pedestrians and bicyclist also stay out of the barricaded areas. With the number of workers in these areas doing power restoration, the hazards are numerous for everyone so staying away is the best alternative."

So after a euphoric mood yesterday morning when woodcutters had remarkably cleared both Dunn's Farm and M-22 south, the reality today is that, to re-hang power lines and eventually restore electricity, the work crews have had to close those roads again. M-109 to the west and M-22 to the east remain the only access roads open to Glen Arbor, just as they were earlier in the week.

Update, 10:48 a.m., Aug. 6, Northwood Drive a mess, power line down

NorthwoodDriveA video posted to the Crystal River Outfitters Facebook page early this morning shows the downed tree mayhem along Northwood Drive, between downtown Glen Arbor and Big Glen Lake. Most disconcerting is that the power line along Northwood is the main power line that takes power to Glen Arbor. The town is still without power. Some estimates have it returning by this afternoon. But a map from Consumer Energy yesterday suggested that power might not return until Friday. So at this point, who knows?

Update, 10:30 a.m., Aug. 6, Some businesses re-open, despite no power

CottonseedThough electricity has not yet returned to Glen Arbor, some businesses have opened their doors. Despite the mayhem from Sunday's storm, the summer tourism season must go on!

Those stores include the Cottonseed, the Cottage Book Shop and Synchronicity. Businesses with generators, including Art's Tavern, Cherry Republic, Anderson's Market and Northwoods Hardware, have been open since Monday. Here's a photo, courtesy of Ann Hilton, of the Cottonseed's first sale (this morning) since the storm hit. "Our neighbors reported they were told by insurance not to open til they had power," writes Hilton. "Our insurance didn't say that."

Update, 9:30 a.m., Aug. 6, Video of drive through Glen Arbor

Sun reader Andy Gerber shared this dashcam video of his drive through Glen Arbor yesterday, from M-22 east of town to M-22 south. Some scenes show tree debris, stacked wood and jagged tree bases. Other scenes show a town that looks completely normal.

Update, 10:30 p.m., Aug. 5: Benefit concert tomorrow night at The Homestead

The Homestead will host a benefit concert tomorrow night at the top of Bay Mountain to raise funds for storm cleanup efforts. Transportation will start at 6 p.m. and the concert will run from 7-9 p.m. Read more here.

Update, 4:45 p.m., Aug. 5: the Glen Arbor Sun publishes in print, too

Anna Young-NealIn addition to these frenetic, up-to-the-minute news updates about Glen Arbor's recovery from the storm, we also publish a print edition, due to hit shelves on Thursday, Aug. 13. At some point this weekend, we'll shift gears and write the narrative, more analytical stories that form the bulk of our print edition. Want your personal megastorm story covered, or alluded to, in our print edition (whose front page we hope will become a collector's item)? Send us an email, Tweet or Facebook note with your story. We've published a few already here.

Update, 4:35 p.m., Aug. 5: Road closure update

Sun co-editor Mike Buhler writes that Dunn's Farm, Fisher, and Northwoods Drive are all closed right now as scores of teams work intensively to remove the last lumber and restoring the lines. With the power off, the lineman are making AMAZING progress, and they hope to bring power tonight. Downtown Glen Arbor and the west side of Glen Lake would be next, followed by M-109 and Little Glen. This can change, but that is the plan. The weekend is looking good!

Update, 4:30 p.m., Aug. 5: Tentative timeline for restoring electricity

From Leelanau County Director of Emergency Management Matt Ansorge: "Now Consumers has pushed back their timeline for restoration. Here's their outage map:
Thursday (8/6) at 4pm for areas around Little Traverse Lake and south to parts of Cleveland Twp.
Friday (8/7) at 1:30pm for the Homestead area, Glen Arbor community, and the south & north sides of Little Glen Lake.
Friday (8/7) at 1:45pm for the west & north side of Little Glen Lake.
Friday (8/7) at 2:15pm for the east & south side of Big Glen Lake.
Friday (8/7) at 10pm for Kasson Twp, Cleveland Twp, and the Cedar area.

Update, 4:20 p.m., Aug. 5: According to Denny Becker of the Glen Lake Association, "the annual meeting of the Glen Lake Association scheduled for August 8 is canceled and will be rescheduled for early October. Members are encouraged to mail their Proxy Form to the Association or send an email to the Association at authorizing their vote for the three Directors recommended by the Nominating Committee and the fulfillment of the remaining two years of an unexpired term of one director."

Update, 2:30 p.m., Aug 5: When will power return to Glen Arbor?

Some Glen Arbor customers received a call from Consumers Energy's 1-800 number saying that power is estimated to be restored by Friday at 1 p.m. That conflicts with an earlier report that electricity would return by Thursday at 3. Patience, patience!

Update, 2:15 p.m., Aug. 5: Consumers Energy to re-close roads

According to Leelanau County Director of Emergency Management Matt Ansorge, "Consumers Enegy is attempting to coordinate the closure of Dunn's Farm Rd from Fisher to Trumbull and Northwood Dr from Lake St to Fisher. These are two areas that are in dire need of attention and they need as little vehicle/foot traffic through there as possible. They could not give me a timeline for the closures because there is a lot of unknown information as far as what equipment may be damaged on the utility poles."

"The Michigan Department of Transportation has authorized the closure of M-22 north of the Narrows for the time being as well. No projected time that will be reopened.

The latest numbers from Consumers puts 5,425 residents without power in the County with a projected restoration time of 4 p.m. tomorrow."

Update, 1 p.m., Aug 5: Art's, The Homestead are back in action

After temporarily losing its generator, we can report that Art's Tavern is back in action! After all, Glen Arbor wouldn't be Glen Arbor without a full house at Art's in the summer, Oberon flowing from the tap, and burgers and funky grill cheese sandwiches coming off the grill.

The Homestead resort north of Glen Arbor is also good to go. Power returned this morning, the beach club and Cavanaugh's in the village have also reopened, and Cafe Manitou and Nonna's will re-open tomorrow, reports Jamie Jewell. After the storm on Sunday, The Homestead called guests and warned them about the situation in Glen Arbor. Some packed up and left, others on their way to Glen Arbor made different accommodations, but many have stuck it out, and helped emergency responders and the resort's maintenance crew clear roads of trees and debris.

HomesteadGrillYesterday, before the power returned, I met several Homestead guests near the Beach Club (mouth of the Crystal River) sharing a gas grill to cook their dinner. One was from Ann Arbor; two were from Columbus, Ohio. Have you heard that expression about adversity bringing us together? Even, gasp, Wolverines and Buckeyes!

Update, 12:30, Aug. 5: Starting to feel the pain

Neighbors are stepping up, sawyers and woodcutters are performing heroic acts, law enforcement is doing its job with a steady hand, power is beginning to return and roads are beginning to re-open. And the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) reports that its Traverse City-Glen Arbor route will resume today. (Glen Arbor to Empire service is still off) That's the good news. But there's plenty of not-so-good news. Looking west toward Alligator Hill, and the mighty trees that once stood there, will provoke an emotional outburst for some.

We're beginning to feel the hit to the arts & culture scene that makes Glen Arbor so vibrant. Yesterday afternoon the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore officially canceled the popular annual Port Oneida Fair, even though it wouldn't have begun until Friday, and power and road service will probably be open by then. Here's why, according to interpreter Merrith Baughman: "It was a hard decision, but because the setup (tents, final mowing, restrooms in place) is done today and tomorrow, and that heavily involves our ranger crew and interpretive staff, we did not have the people to pull it off. Plus, we needed to make a decision because people are coming from a ways away, and without knowing whether we'd have power and water up at Port Oneida, we felt like we needed to let our demonstrators and vendors know with plenty of time to turn around. We went round and round, but I think in the end it was the right decision."

BeachBards3Oh, and the Beach Bards Bonfire (Friday night poetry circle) pit at the Leelanau School bore the brunt of several fallen trees during the storm. Norm Wheeler hasn't yet decided whether to cancel this coming Friday night's poetry circle, but the chances of it happening are slim.

Speaking of Art's, we're remiss to announce that Art's Tavern has closed. Its generator died. Art's empty in early August ... now that's an unfamiliar scene to Glen Arbor.

Update, noon, Aug. 5: Help arrives from afar

Helping hands have arrived in Leelanau County, in the form of relief director Win Williams and the Southern Baptist Convention of Michigan. The Convention will provide, at no cost, relief to private homeowners who have trees or debris in their yards, on their vehicles or on their homes. (Note: this won't cover businesses or rentals, only private homes.) Again, their services are free. Win Williams met with this morning at the Glen Arbor Township Hall with township supervisor John Soderholm. His team of altruistic volunteers will be housed in Empire while they help our area clean up from Sunday's storm. Now listen up. To receive help from the Southern Baptist Convention, you need to go to the Township Hall and fill out an application form.

Meanwhile, Leelanau County's Director of Emergency Management Matt Ansorge reminds homeowners that, if they choose to pay contractors to remove tree debris, to be aware of FEMA scams, which have happened elsewhere in the United States following natural disasters (no reports of this yet in Leelanau County, thankfully). While the county has declared a state of emergency, and may in the future receive reimbursement funds from the state or federal government, no FEMA personnel are coming here. Ansorge writes: "there is a chance that residents may be approached by individuals claiming to be associated with FEMA that will clear debris. They will seek payment from the homeowners and give them false documentation to turn in to FEMA for reimbursement. THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS. Do not fall for this ploy, reimbursement will not be possible."

Also, electricity should be restored in Glen Arbor either today or tomorrow. However, for anyone in need of a generator, you may purchase one at Northwoods Hardware. Owner Jeff Gietzen is charging only what he paid for them + $50 for delivery. To reserve one, contact Gietzen at 616-633-3699.

Update, 9:45 a.m., Aug 5: Will power return today?

A Leelanau County Sheriff's officer reportedly just announced at the Glen Arbor Township Hall (the impromptu shelter) that 70 extra trucks have been brought into the area in hopes of restoring power in Glen Arbor today. Coordination is taking place at Glen Lake High School beginning at 10 a.m. ... Power was restored at The Homestead resort just minutes ago.

Update, 9:30 a.m., Aug. 5: Driving with caution

RoadswithCautionRoads around Glen Arbor are slowly but surely becoming passable. But many are still only open at one lane, and obstacles remain. So drive slow and with caution. That's the crux of the message this morning from the Leelanau County Sheriff's blog: "Below is a map of the Glen Lake area and the roads still affected by storm damage. M22 north from Day Forest Road is closed as is MacFarlane Road. The bolder colored red roads are either closed or are down to one lane in places. The lighter colored roads have periodic obstructions. The Leelanau County Sheriff's Office requests motorist to travel with added caution when driving in these areas, at reduced speeds and expect to have to avoid down limbs and trees."

No word yet on when power will be restored. Earlier this week, Consumers Power estimated end-of-day Thursday. Glen Arbor, Maple City and Cedar are still without power. But electricity reportedly is back at The Homestead resort.

Update, 9 a.m., Aug. 5: All roads open soon!

GlenHaven3I drove into Glen Arbor yesterday evening, on M-22 from the northeast, which is now officially open. And while awestruck and saddened by the tree damage, I couldn't believe how much progress the work crews, sawyers and chainsaw wielders had made in clearing roads around Glen Arbor. I couldn't believe it. I've been reporting that it might take a week to clear all three entrances to town. In fact, the job will likely be complete by today, Wednesday. As mentioned, M-22 from the northeast is open; M-109 from the west was open soon after the storm, and it appears that M-22 from the south may be open by this afternoon. One lane of Dunn's Farm Road, too, was passable last night in my small, two-door Honda Civic. Residents of Burdickville, on the east side of the Glen Lakes, have been working feverishly, day and night, to open Dunn's Farm Road. They also may have saved the life Sunday afternoon of one resident who was cut out of a car wreck and taken, by boat and by car, to Munson in Traverse City. Their effort has been heroic!

While checking the progress on M-22 south yesterday evening, I caught up with (Cherry Republic CEO) Bob and Stephanie Sutherland. Again, M-22 between the business district and Sunset Drive was (along with Dunn's Farm) one of the hardest hit areas. In the following video, the Sutherlands expressed sadness at the loss of trees, but amazement at how quickly Glen Arbor citizens are recovering. Resilience. That's the word of the day, and a word we'll highlight frequently in our coverage of the storm's aftermath. View the interview below:

Update, 8 a.m., Aug. 5: A cemetery's story

ForestHavenCemeteryAs Glen Arbor Sun reader Todd Schorer points out, pictures may testify as to how long it's been since a storm like this hit our town. Particularly when the pictures are of Forest Haven Cemetery, with headstones that date back to the late 1800s. We reported Monday night that Sunday's mega storm was the strongest (based on wind speed) to hit Glen Arbor since the National Weather Service began keeping track in 1950. But that's only 65 years. Our cemeteries tell a much older story.

Update, 4:50 p.m., Aug 4: Port Oneida Fair canceled

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore reports via a press release this afternoon that it has made the difficult decision to cancel the Port Oneida Fair scheduled for this weekend, Aug. 7-8. The Star Party scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, is also cancelled. With the area of Port Oneida still without electricity and water, and several major visitor areas within the Lakeshore still closed, the National Park Service determined that resources could not be pulled from the emergency clean-up on-going at this time. This is the first, but unfortunately and probably not the last, event that the Aug. 2 mega storm will have canceled.

Update, 3:40 p.m., Aug. 4: Glen Arbor accessible from two directions

Road update. Glen Arbor is now accessible from two directions: M-109 from the west (Glen Haven, Dune Climb) AND M-22 from the northeast (The Homestead, Leland). M-22 south toward the Glen Lakes remains closed. But if you want to access Glen Arbor from the northeast, avoid travel on 675 / Dunn's Farm Rd anywhere south of Miller Hill.

Update, 3:22 p.m., Aug. 4: How to recoup costs

The Leelanau County Government Center has issued the following press release, in conjunction with its State of Emergency declaration yesterday, and attempt to recoup costs from the state and federal government: "In order to obtain accurate damage assessment, Leelanau County has set up a call in number for reports on structural damage to residential, business and public buildings. Call 231-256-9812 and report the address, property owner name, and type of damage to the structure. Leelanau County is also requesting photographs of the structural damage. Photos and the accompanying address should be emailed to or" The release was issued by Leelanau County Board of Commissioners chair Carolyn Rentenbach, Directory of Emergency Management Matt Ansorge, and County Administrator Chet Janik.

Update, 2:15 p.m., Aug. 4: Video of devastation

Here's a rough, unedited video I took yesterday while biking and bushwacking my way through some of the worst hit areas around Glen Arbor. I move from Dunn's Farm Road, to M-22 east of town by the Crystal River, to a panoramic scene at Art's Tavern, to decimated Alligator Hill above M-109, to M-22 south of town heading toward the Glen Lakes. (Note that this is a fast-moving situation, and road conditions in some cases may have changed since this video was shot on Monday.)

Update, 1:45 p.m., Aug. 4: Damage to Glen Haven, National Park

GlenHavenNational Park rangers have closed off Glen Haven Road from M-109; they wouldn't even allow this bicycle-bound journalist yesterday to snap photos of the damage to the historic village and the popular bathing destination. I spoke to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore interpreter Merrith Baughman today and learned the extent of the damage at Glen Haven. Fortunately, no buildings were damaged, she says. But dozens of old-growth trees did fall at Glen Haven, including a majority of the black locust trees, which are an important visual feature of Glen Haven. They are no longer. It's really sad, we can’t replace that," said Baughman. "As you approach Glen Haven, the historic village will have a very different look."

Park officials hope to re-open Glen Haven "within the next couple days". The Dune Climb, on the other hand, will have to wait until electricity is restored, which means a fully functioning bathroom and and entrance station at the popular tourist destination. Tue, Baughman admits, there are few if any (fallen) trees at the Dune Climb. But an open Dune Climb means tourists occasionally getting lost, or dehydrated, or hurt, and that necessitates search-and-rescue teams. At the moment, the National Park and emergency responders have no extra hands to spare. So the Dune Climb will wait. Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive may open within the next day or two, but visitors will be forbidden (read: discouraged) from running down the dune face toward Lake Michigan, for the same reason listed above.

GlenHaven4As for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, it depends entirely on how long the Friends of Sleeping Bear need to clear the trail of fallen trees. Dozens of trees, at least, are down on the stretch under Alligator Hill, between Glen Haven and Glen Arbor. Friends of Sleeping Bear met at 9 a.m. this morning to begin clearing the trail. Expect this to take days.

Baughman also told me that, according to National Park protocol, Sleeping Bear Dunes was able to import a four-person crew, and chipper from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, to help cut up trees. Park rangers, Leelanau County Sheriff deputies, and (according to Sheriff Borkovich) police volunteers who were already vacationing in the Glen Arbor area, have more or less teamed up to help each other.

Update, noon, Aug. 4: What emergency declaration means

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich confirmed to me this morning that both Leelanau County and Grand Traverse County officially petitioned the state of Michigan yesterday for a declaration of a state of emergency. They did so at a press conference in Traverse City, with State Rep. Ray Franz and other dignitaries in attendance. If Michigan approves the request, it could send the emergency declaration request on to the federal government. Borkovich says we should know by the end of this week whether emergency is officially declared. Now here's what that means in practical terms. The emergency declaration request is simply a bid to be reimbursed for the mammoth cost of the cleanup, which is certain to reach in to the millions of dollars. It is NOT a request for the federal government to send FEMA personnel, FEMA trailers and supplies. "We don’t need troops or water or National Guard," says Borkovich. "We can handle this internally."

Borkovich added that the key resource for people living on impassable roads, such as Dunn's Farm, on the east side of Big Glen Lake, is each other. "We're asking people to be neighborly, to help each other." If you stockpiled food or water for an occasion like this, and your neighbor needs fresh water for baby formula, offer to share it. Borkovich confirmed that Dunn's Farm Rd and M-22 south of Glen Arbor are the worst affected roads, and won't be clear for days. On the other hand, M-109 west of Glen Arbor is now open to all vehicles, entering or leaving town. And M-22 east of town, toward 675, the Crystal River and the Homestead, should be open sometime later today.

Update, 11 a.m., Aug. 4: Road closings update

M22South4Here's this morning's update from the Leelanau County Sheriff's Office, via their blog: "As of 8 a.m. this morning, Dunn's Farm Road is still closed to motor vehicle traffic north of Trumbull Road to Miller Hill Road. Numerous trees are down blocking this roadway and it is completely impassable. Also, M22 is closed to northbound traffic at Sunset Drive. Traffic can access the Village of Glen Arbor by M109 from the west or M22 from the north. Also, as of this morning the Villages of Cedar, Maple City and Glen Arbor are without electricity and restoration efforts are in full swing but because of the amount of damage done by this storm we have been given no time frame for when the power will be restored. The Leelanau County Sheriff's Office has increased it's patrol efforts in the areas affected the most by the storm. We have been manning traffic points since Sunday evening and will continue to do so until the roadways are open to vehicle traffic."

Update: 10 p.m., Aug. 3: Heritage Trail closed

Sleeping Bear Heritage TrailTraverse Area Recreation and Transportation (TART) Trails reports that the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, as well as other bike trails in its network, will be closed for days, if not over a week. "Hundreds of trees are down on the entire stretch from Empire to Port Oneida which is impassable. The National Park Service has closed the trail until further notice. Friends of Sleeping Bear volunteers are the maintenance crew on the trail."

Update: 9:30 p.m., Aug. 3: Strongest storm ever

In the storm's wake yesterday, Glen Arbor residents immediately recognized that the destruction they witnessed was unprecedented for our town. This was worse than the 1987 storm, people said. In fact, it was far worse. The storm was more powerful and more destructive than any other Glen Arbor storm ever recorded. And now we have stats to prove it. I spoke late this afternoon to Jeff Lutz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Gaylord. While Lutz clarified that yesterday's storm was not a tornado (you can blame some of the hyperbole on this newspaper) he did confirm that the straight-line winds which accompanied the sudden thunderstorm reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. That's strong enough to be called a tornado. More significantly, it blows away the previous wind velocity record for Leelanau County. According to the NWS, on Sept. 13, 2005, a barrage of wind traveling at 63 miles per hour hit Leland and Empire, but not Glen Arbor. But 63 is not 100. Not even close. Nope, yesterday's storm was the strongest to ever hit Leelanau County, since records were kept starting in 1950. Here's more from the NWS' Aug. 2 severe weather recap.

Update: 1:00 p.m., Aug. 3: Glen Arborites help each other

With smiles on their faces, and a can-do attitude, Glen Arbor business owners and residents are stepping up. I write these words from the cafe at Cherry Republic, which is open (generator) and serving cherry chicken sandwiches and fruit parfaits. Sure, the down is decimated, and will be for days, if not weeks, but many businesses are open. They include Anderson's Market, Cherry Republic, and Northwoods Hardware. I just saw Cherry Republic owner Bob Sutherland roll down Lake Street in a tractor, looking for brush to clear. Meanwhile, Glen Arbor locals and tourists, alike, are strolling up and down M-22, snapping photos, laughing, playing on downed trees, and stopping at Art's for a beer (Art's is packed: what else is new?!)

Meanwhile, the offers of aid continue to flood in. On the Narrows Marina owner Carol McCahill writes: "My managers at On The Narrows Marina are there to help anyone in need. They can bring people trapped by impassable roads to M-22 at the marina by using our boats. Contact the marina at 231-334-4891." And Northwoods Hardware has stocked many things that you may need before the electricity returns later this week. Stop by there for flashlights, batteries, lanterns, candles, gas and other emergency items.

Update: 12:45 p.m., Aug. 3: Dunn's Farm destruction

DunnsFarmRd2I parked my car at the Foothills Motel on Dunn's Farm Rd., which runs along the east side of Big Glen Lake, and walked/biked through the catastrophic damage along Dunn's Farm. Between the Foothills and Miller Hill Road (roughly one mile) I counted over one hundred huge dead trees that had fallen onto the road like giant logs. It took me nearly an hour to climb over, under and through them. Clearing Dunn's Farm Rd will be an enormous endeavor, and could take weeks.

DunnsFarmRd4The one major injury I learned about through the Sheriff's Department was a man on Dunn's Farm stuck in a car that was impaled by a tree, near Miller Hill. Neighbors reportedly cut him out of the car, after which he was ferried across Big Glen Lake to the Narrows and taken to Munson Hospital in Traverse City. He will be OK. A picture of his car is below. Thankfully, I know of no other major injuries from this terrible storm.

Update: 10:15 a.m., Aug. 3: State of emergency issued

According to officials at the Leelanau County Sheriffs Office, a state of emergency for the County will be formally issued this afternoon. A press conference will happen at 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned for details. Officials confirm that one lane of M-109 is open for vehicles leaving Glen Arbor, only. I.e., no non-emergency automobile traffic entering Glen Arbor is permitted. Officials hope to open all three roads entering town by the end of today. Meanwhile, D.H. Day Campground is being evacuated. ... Consumers Energy reports that power may not be restored in Glen Arbor until Thursday at 4 p.m. Also, four hikers who reportedly went missing on Alligator Hill yesterday afternoon were found, safe, at 3 a.m. this morning, following an organized search. ... Meanwhile, Anderson's Market is open for business until 6 p.m. today, thanks to a fully functioning generator.

Update: 9:48 a.m., Aug. 3: Road closings

GlenArborUndersheriff Steve Morgan, who took over the Leelanau County Sheriff's Blog this week, reports this morning that access to Glen Arbor is still closed from the south (M-22 is closed at Sunset Drive), and the northeast (M-22 closed at the Crystal River, Co. Rd. 675). To the west of town, one lane of M-109 is open, but the highway is littered with trees and low power lines coming into Glen Arbor. Cars can travel out of Glen Arbor on this roadway but, according to Morgan, no incoming traffic is allowed at this time. County Road 675, Dunns Farm Road is open from M-22 south to Miller Hill Road but impassable south from there.

The above mentioned roads have multiple trees with power lines down across the roadways. Consumers Power and the Leelanau County Road Commission are working hard to open these ares but because of the extent of storm damage we do not have a time frame as to when the roadways will be open or when power will be restored.

SheriffMorganDuring the storm a 47-year-old man from Colorado was rescued from this vehicle after a tree came down on the vehicle while the the victim was traveling on Dunn's Farm Road south of Miller Hill Road. The victim suffered back, neck and leg injuries. After several citizens extricated the victim from the vehicle, emergency personnel carried the victim a distance to a waiting boat on Glen Lake and transported him in a boat across the lake to the Narrows Marina and a waiting ambulance. He was transported to Munson Hospital for treatment. A relative of the victim sustained a laceration in extricating the victim from the vehicle and this relative also was transported to Munson Hospital for treatment. Dunn's Farm Road remained closed in this area because of down trees, power lines and abandoned vehicles.

Update: 9:20 a.m., Aug. 3: Reporting the story

Buhler-Aug3Our Glen Arbor Sun team will work hard today to try and keep you abreast of the difficult situation on the ground, following the massive storm that rocked our town yesterday afternoon. But most, if not all, roads are still closed; thousands are without power, and the story is a fast moving one. Sun editor Jacob Wheeler will leave mid-morning from Traverse City (once babysitter arrives) by car and with bicycle attached. He doesn't expect to reach Glen Arbor on four wheels. Co-editor Mike Buhler is grabbing breakfast at Art's, to try and understand the extent of the damage and to learn how to help. After that, he might don a bathing suit and help recover boats (and stop gas/oil mix) from seeping into the Glen Lakes. Co-editor Norm Wheeler will anchor our reporting from the south side of the Glen Lakes, and Empire. Reporter Sarah Bearup-Neal returned home this morning after being forced to spend the night in Glen Arbor. She reports that road access to Glen Arbor along M-109 might be open, but "there is amazing damage along the way. It's do-able but you need to keep your eyes peeled. The power lines all have trees hanging on them. It's not pretty."

Also, Glen Arbor resident, and web designer, Molly Connolly has started this helpful Google document to provide up-to-date information about the situation.

Update: 11:05 p.m., Aug. 2: National Park closed

DHDayThe Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore reports tonight that the following areas within the National Park will be closed until further notice: The Philip A Hart Visitor Center in Empire; Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive; the Dune Climb; Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail; Glen Haven Historic Village; and DH Day Campground. These closures are a result of a severe storm that hit the area at approximately 4:05 p.m. This storm resulted in numerous trees down in the park.

Update: 10:03 p.m., Aug. 2: Blu serves dinner

DottiThompsonRandy Chamberlain, chef at luxurious restaurant Blu, stepped up and served an impromptu meal at the Glen Arbor Township Hall, which is serving as an impromptu shelter tonight. ... Winds this afternoon may have topped 100 miles per hour as they tore through Glen Arbor ... the town is reportedly cut off from emergency responders and other vehicles (until trees are cleared) from all three directions: M-109, M-22 from the south (Sunset Drive) and M-22 from the north. The east side of Glen lake was reportedly also hit badly: Dunn's Farm Road / 675 is blocked between Miller Hill and Trumbull Rd.


View more photos by citizens of Glen Arbor (courtesy of Facebook)