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Wednesday, May 5, 2004


Weed warriors launch attack

Volunteers to begin alternative-to-herbicides program

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 www.weedpatrol.net.

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 their properties.

"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 [email protected]. Volunteers for the Thursday Weed Walk do not need to call ahead of time.


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