Parks officials will still seek competitive bids for cleanup work at the park, but the emergency guidelines will allow them to pick a contractor much more quickly. Hutchinson hopes to be able to pick someone to clean up the park by the end of next week.
But he said it would be next spring before the upper part of the park reopens. The upper shelters close in October anyway, and Hutchinson sees no way the park can be cleaned up by then.
Parks commission member John Huddleston asked if some of the downed trees might be salvaged for lumber, but Hutchinson said he doubted it.
"[The damage to] a lot of trees was like an explosion," he said. "It's like someone dropped a grenade down the middle of them. It looks like toothpicks.
"It's the most awesome natural disaster I've ever seen."
Also Wednesday, parks officials gave provisional approval to allow the park to be used for a haunted trail.
Andrew Blessing, co-founder of the nonprofit group Zombie Frogz Inc., asked for permission to run a haunted trail at Coonskin on Oct. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27. He said those running the trail are volunteers, and the proceeds will go to charity.
Hutchinson said there would be virtually no cost to parks officials to allow the trail, and said the idea would create another recreational activity at the park. Members of the parks commission voted to allow the trail if Blessing could get an insurance rider for the event.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.