Boots on the Ground at Taku Lake Park
June 21st, the longest day of the year, is quite a unique experience in Alaska. The Great Land celebrates this day with live music, gatherings with friends and families, and in the great outdoors. The sun never seems to set here. On this year’s summer solstice, CIRI and SCA teamed up in the great outdoors to restore Taku Lake Park in Anchorage, Alaska. Over 40 participants came together to revive a landscaped bed in disrepair, remove invasive bird vetch, and restore the shore bank along the lake.
The day was kicked off with remarks from CIRI and agency partners thanking everyone for spending their solstice serving and familiarizing the group with the park’s master revitalization plan. The participants then split up into groups to divide and conquer.
At the landscaped bed, volunteers dove in removing all weeds, leaving only the native rose bushes. This was no small feat as the weeds seemed to multiply and grow deeper roots with each one that was removed. Next, weed mat and mulch was laid to protect the garden from future undesirables creeping in. To complement the native rose bushes and complete the garden bed, native grasses were planted. All in a good day’s work.
While the landscaped bed was being revitalized, other participants had begun working on stabilizing the shore banks along the lake. This involved staking willows and then securing that area so that they have a chance to root. All 300 willow stakes were planted using rebar to create a hole and plugging the live willows in their new homes. There was just enough time once the willows were staked to remove highly invasive bird vetch from the surrounding banks and a nearby rain garden.
Over 100 service hours were completed to help restore almost 2,500 square feet of Taku Lake Park. This service has helped to jump start the park’s master revitalization plan that will create more gathering spaces in an invaluable part of Anchorage’s community. Casey Sifsof a BBNC volunteer reported, “My brother had a great time at the event. He was hesitant at first but became comfortable very quickly and had a great time! I will be checking out other opportunities for him to do this in the future.” Many participants noted their anticipated return, showing their true dedication to their lands.
Special thanks to Anchorage Parks and Recreation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Anchorage Park Foundation, and Anchorage CWMA for their partnership and to CIRI for supporting SCA.
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