Weed warriors launch attack
Volunteers to begin
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
So far, volunteers have averted extensive
spraying of herbicides along the Wood River Valley’s 22-mile bicycle path.
Local residents will gather to pull
noxious weeds along the Wood River Trails right-or-way at five locations on
Thursday, May 6. More volunteers are welcome.
The "Weed Walk" is the first attempt at a
pilot program to see whether it is feasible to eradicate noxious weeds by hand
from the 22-mile trail, which stretches from Bellevue to Hulen Meadows, north of
Ketchum, said Blaine County Recreation District Trails Director Shelly Preston.
More than 150 people responded in April to
a call for volunteers to weed the path by hand in hopes that the spraying of
herbicides can be reduced or eliminated. Team leaders will be available at five
south county bike path intersections to train volunteers in noxious weed
identification and pulling techniques. Volunteers should bring weeding forks,
shovels and gloves.
According to Preston, more weed walks will
be scheduled in locations farther north as the weeds begin to emerge in larger
numbers. Dates and locations will be available through bulletins at local post
offices or on the Internet at
Noxious weeds are invasive, non-native
plants and are not controlled by nature’s usual checks and balances, said John
Caccia, the Weed Walk’s volunteer coordinator and a local organic farmer.
Noxious weeds displace native vegetation and crowd out wildflowers, wildlife
habitat and forage.
The Nature Conservancy-Idaho considers
noxious weeds a threat to biodiversity and species conservation that is second
only to land development.
Because of the threat weeds pose, Idaho
and Blaine County laws require landowners to remove the menacing shrubs from
"If people know how to identify noxious
weeds and want to start digging them up right away, we encourage them to do so,"
Caccia said. "Weed season is open, and there are no bag limits."
Recreation district Executive Director
Mary Austin Crofts said the volunteer weed pulling effort will hopefully
"minimize and eventually eliminate spraying" along the path.
To get involved:
Volunteers interested in pulling weeds
along the Wood River Trails bike path on Thursday should meet at 5:30 p.m. at
one of the following locations:
- Buttercup Road and Highway 75.
- Buttercup Road and McKercher Boulevard.
- Fox Acres Road near Highway 75.
- Countryside Boulevard near Highway 75.
- As and Second Street at the
intersection with the bike path in Bellevue.
For additional information, call the
Blaine County Recreation District at 788-2117 or e-mail jc@RockyMountainTrading.com.
Volunteers for the Thursday Weed Walk do not need to call ahead of time.