Briarwood still cleaning up tornado damage, seeking community help

Things have been busy at Briarwood Nature Preserve after it was hit by an EF-1 tornado on April 8, causing substantial damage to the preserve and some of the buildings, most notably the log house. Workers managed to get trees off the log house and clean a substantial amount of the debris from around it. It’s covered with blue tarps in hopes of keeping the upcoming rain out of it.

Curator Richard Johnson thanks the Cane River National Heritage Area for helping to remove all the precious artifacts that were at risk of moisture damage from the log house, and getting them to where they could be dried out. Thanks to Susan and her friend along with the people from the NPDC and all the local folks who came out to help get the ball rolling toward restoration.

“This is a Herculean task and will require many people working together to get it accomplished,” he said.

The entry road into Briarwood is quite rough and Johnson highly recommends entering the property via the exit road and follow the exit road to the visitor center. The area around the Education building is pretty much unscathed.

Though insurance will cover some of the building rebuilding costs the roads into and out of Briarwood will have to be rebuilt as well as trails have to be cleared of fallen trees.

“We are in full cleanup mode right now with volunteers coming in almost daily to help in any way they can,” said Johnson. “If you would like to volunteer please contact me via at so we can coordinate your assistance.”

Melissa Abdo, with the Old Growth Forest Network, established a Go-Fund-Me page so people can donate directly to the cause.