Initiating Invasive Species Removal
Our work week kicked off with the high energy of our wonderful agency partner, Wendy Mahovlic, who is in charge of managing all invasive plants within the park, we also got to work along side her SCA intern Taylor. She introduced us to Hawksbeard, Foxtail Barleygrass, Dandelions, Birdsvetch, White sweetclover and Plantain which plague the park. Luckily most of these invasives have not spread far within the the park to disrupt the dynamics of native flora. The most common location of these plants are within the first 5 miles of the Park Road, along the Park Hightway, and at areas with recent construction. These locations are more prone to weeds due to traffic transporting seed along these busy roads, and seed stowed in soils used for construction projects. All the plants we removed were by hand and placed in bags to later be burned. We also took weights of our bags in the process, and amounted to over 1,600 pounds of weeds pulled. Basically 200 pounds per person! In total we covered 2 acres of land. We also assisted in removing old landscaping and construction materials set up for erosion control, collecting 50 waddles and almost half a mile of silt fences.
The crew closed this week with chainsaw training with Christine Byl from Interior Trails. Our first day was spent inside learning the ins and out of the tool and it’s use in limbing, bucking, and felling trees, along with valuable information on saw maintenance. Our second day was spent putting our knowledge to practice at the Denali Education Center, where we removed White Spruce bordering cabins that will be getting porch expansions this fall. Each crew member became well practiced and successfully fell several trees. We’ll all get the chance to put our new skills to use in August when we work in the Chugach National Forest. This next week we will remain at Denali and get some much needed rest and explore the wilderness.