Invasive weed removal project draws nearly 90 participants
In honor of Earth Day, nearly 90 people showed up to tackle invasive plants taking over native species at Snoqualmie Point Park.
The park, just off exit 27 on Interstate 90, is surrounded by views of Rattlesnake Mountain, Mount Si and the Cascade Mountain Range.
The eight-acre park used to be a winery that burned to the ground, according to Margaret Ulman, one of the organizers of the Friends of the Forest Day, from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. In the 1990s, an eight-building business park had been proposed for the area.
“Business parks have their place and are important,” she told a group of about 60 volunteers the morning of April 14. “But we recognized what a wonderful resource the area was.”
The U.S. Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and the city of Snoqualmie, with help from Mountains to Sound, joined forces and purchased the land to protect it from development.
The volunteers who showed up for the restoration project were given a choice of three projects happening that day: sow seeds of broad-leafed lupine in the roundabout area; pull butterfly and holly bushes from the forest; or remove Scotch broom using loppers or orange, metal contraptions called weed wrenches.
Diane Parker, from Mountlake Terrace, chose to tackle the Scotch broom.
She came with the Puget Sound chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, one of four groups who turned out for the weed pulling party.
The other three groups were the National Charity League, Alaska Airline employees and Boston University Alumni.
Parker said she loves volunteering for outdoor restoration projects and often helps with Cascade Land Conservancy projects.
“Plus, it’s just a great way to meet new people,” she said.
But not everyone came with a group.
Two Issaquah teens showed up to fulfill a community service requirement for speeding and talking on the phone while driving.
And for Jake Schiffler, a 20-something from Seattle, projects like this get him off his couch and into the world.
Sarah Prince, an invasive plant coordinator with the U.S. Forest Service, really isn’t concerned about what motivated people to give up their Saturday to help restore the park to a more natural state.
“Having a huge coalition of volunteers is just really great from a weed removal perspective,” she said.