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Fall season looking different in the City of Five Seasons following derecho

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) — While some parts of Eastern Iowa are experiencing the beautiful autumn season, areas impacted by the derecho tell a different story.

The historic Belmont Hill Victorian Bed and Breakfast lost nearly 30, 170-year-old trees, while the rest of the city of Cedar Rapids remains covered in debris.

Belmont's owner, Shelley Sullens, said the tree loss on the property means more than just missing out on the fall foliage this year.

"They were like old friends," Sullens said. "They're huge living things, and I could honestly say I'd walk out here every day either with the dogs or when I walked up to get the mail, and I would always look up and just revel."

Sullens said the canopy of trees was the "God Glory of the property" and she never once took that for granted.

"Just like everybody else, we'll play the hand that we're dealt and try to handle it well and do the best that we can," she said.

Mark Vitosh, an area forester from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said many trees in Iowa are either red maples or a hybrid between red and silver.

Unfortunately, their ability to grow at a faster rate contributed to the amount of damage they received from the storm.

"Because that hybrid has a lot of silver maple in it, they grow really fast and they're fairly weak wooded," Vitosh said. "So that hybrid really took a hit in this storm."

The DNR said it will take years of replanting and managing to re-establish what was lost.

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