People walk past downed trees in Central Park. (Oct. 31,...

People walk past downed trees in Central Park. (Oct. 31, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Central Park could lose 1,000 trees due to this weekend's unprecedented snowstorm, the group that manages the park said yesterday.

The storm harmed about 400 acres -- half of the park, primarily its southern end, below 86th Street, said Central Park Conservancy spokeswoman Dena Libner.

"The damage is so broad and so devastating, so much worse than Irene," she said.

Many paths were blocked off by yellow hazard tape Monday, but joggers and cyclists were in full force, taking advantage of a bright, sunny day -- a big contrast from Saturday, when the freak fall storm struck.

"It looks like a tree cemetery," said Merideth McGregor, who was walking her two dogs, a Yorkie and Maltese. "Their walks have been curtailed. The paths are blocked and the trees are down."

About 100 conservancy workers were clearing and assessing the damage, Libner said, "and we're calling for private contractors" for assistance.

"Every tree that lost a branch has to be assessed whether the damage was more severe than just losing a limb," she said.

"It's sort of amazing to see such a lot of devastation caused by a couple of inches of snow," said Tim Zagat, of Zagat restaurant guide fame, who was taking his morning walk in the park. "It reminds you that in some ways it's still a wild place."

But it wasn't just limbs that came down. Libner estimated that hundreds of whole trees -- some measuring 3-4 feet in diameter -- also were felled.

The New York City Marathon, which winds through the park, is only six days away -- which the conservancy has been preparing for two weeks.

Monday, workers were putting up risers for the weekend event while also feeding downed limbs into a wood-chipper and compactor.

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