15 years after October Surprise storm, volunteers still replanting trees

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Almost 15 years ago, the October Surprise storm ripped through Western New York. The 2006 storm shook Buffalo to its core.

Volunteers part of the group Re-Tree Western New York have already planted 30,000 trees over the past 15 years. In November, they’ll plant 300 more mostly in the city of Buffalo.

“We’re on Pennsylvania Avenue in Buffalo which was very hard hit by the storm of ’06 we started after the October 12 surprise snow storm which hit in 2006 and it devastated this area,” chairman Paul Maurer said.

Maurer said a total of 57,000 trees were lost in Buffalo and the 18 surrounding communities.

Since then, the group’s goal was to replant 30,000 trees with municipalities planting one-for-one.

“It took a little longer than we thought it actually took 13 years to complete and yet we’re still going,” Maurer said. “We’re probably never gonna be finished and we don’t plan to finish, we just plan to keep going as long as we get funding we’re just gonna keep doing it.”

On November 5 and 6 they’ll be planting in North Buffalo and the west side.

They also received a grant to plant 200 trees in areas that need to be reforested in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Erie County.

“It was a very, very early snowstorm and we hope we never see one of those. But we know its inevitable it’s about 100 year storm so within the next 100 years it could be next week hopefully it won’t be soon.”

He also said there’s a new book out called “Thunder Snow of Buffalo” written by a former Buffalo Bills employee and with a forward by Marv Levy.

The book includes a chapter about Re-Tree’s restoration efforts.

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