And so it goes.
Today Steward Linda Felt found a patch of the invasive weed Yellow Star Thistle on the Overlook Trail. I had been watching for it, but eagle-eyed Linda gets the prize for First Sighting of the Season (there is no prize, actually, merely recocgnition). With this new information, I redoubled my efforts to find it and indeed found some small, not yet flowering, plants on the upper meadow.
Thus begins the 2015 campaign to rid the Overlook Trail of this non-native plant, an effort that has been going on for years. Steward Rich Gibson, a Biologist and retired Ranger, ably leads the effort. He schedules group work days to tackle it, bringing snacks, gloves, sacks, and camaraderie. We also pull the weed individually, since group work days are insufficient to completely eradicate it.
Last year we likely had our best year yet, as we continued to pull throughout late Spring, Summer, and into early Fall until none could be found on the main trail. However, we had to leave some very infested patches near Norrbom Road (around the water tank and on up to nearly the Rattlesnake Cutoff trail). We’re aiming to knock those back this year, as well as keep the main trail thistle-free.
Word is that to eradicate it completely takes up to five years of concerted, thorough, eradication efforts. Then vigilance is required, as it could try to re-establish at any time.
Linda Felt is active in the effort to eradicate Jack London State Park of Yellow Star Thistle and she reports that it is already well engaged this season there. So lock and load, people. The battle has begun.
Watch for flyers at the trailhead for group work days. We’d love to see you there.