Friday, July 13, 2012

Volunteers needed to pull invasive knapweed July 14, 18, 19

By Janet Marr, botanist

Janet Marr, left, and volunteers pull invasive knapweed from a hillside area near the breakwater at McLain State Park in July 2011. In the foreground, second from right, is Lee Verberkmoes, McLain State Park superintendent, who worked with Marr in securing funding from the UP Resource Conservation and Development Council for spotted knapweed mapping, control/removal, and restoration in this popular Lake Superior lakeshore park. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

CALUMET -- Volunteers are needed for the Second Annual Spotted Knapweed (SK) Pull anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. TOMORROW, Saturday, July 14, at McLain State Park on the shores of beautiful Lake Superior.

Last summer a group of dedicated  SK pullers focused their removal efforts in one of McLain's low dune areas where SK is crowding out native species. This year we'll continue in the same spot and with persistence we are making a difference!

If you are interested in being a volunteer puller for an hour or two (or just want to observe techniques for removing this invasive species that you may be battling on your own property), please see details below and contact Janet Marr at  906-337-5529 or jkmarr@mtu.edu for more information. By the way, pulling knapweed out of the sands of McLain is sooooo easy compared to many other local sites with more compacted soils.

Spotted knapweed on the beach at McLain State Park. This invasive plant loves dry areas and must be pulled straight up to remove the roots. It also grows along roadsides all around the Keweenaw and spreads rapidly. (Photo © and courtesy Janet Marr)

 Location:  McLain State Park, half-way (more or less) between Calumet and Hancock on M-203; drive into park (tell folks at the park entrance that you're a knapweed pulling volunteer and you will not need to pay to enter the Park); hang a left and drive down to the end of the road (where the bathing beach is); park at the far end of the parking area to the left. It's only about a 1-2 minute walk to the pulling site. In case you're not able to get there right at 10 a.m. the area of the pull is to the left (west) of the swimming beach near the metal walls lining the canal.

Please bring:  garden gloves if you have a favorite pair (we'll have dollar store specials if you need a pair). Spotted knapweed has a substance that is an irritant and gloves, long sleeve shirts, and long pants should be worn. You might want to bring a hat/sunscreen, if it's a toasty/sunny day. Jumping in the Lake is always an option to cool off! By the way, the park store is now re-opened with Ice Cream....We'll have cold bottled water and goodies available free to pullers.

Tools:  We'll have an assortment of tools you may borrow (pulling works fine on many plants, but others will need a little nudge with a tool before pulling). Feel free to bring your favorite knapweed tackling tool as well. The smaller the blade the better (that'll help assure less disturbance to the ground and exposure of seeds from the seedbank).

PLEASE NOTE:  Spotted knapweed work days are also scheduled at Sand Point campground just north of Baraga on July 18 and 19 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.  People are welcome to pull for an hour or two. Contact Evelyn or Karen at 906-524-5757 ext. 11 or 23 for more information before July 18 and call Karen at 201-1808 on July 18 and 19.

Habitat restoration at Sand Point in Baraga. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Be sure to visit the 35 acres of habitat restoration at the Sand Point stamp sand brownfield site where stamp sand has been capped and covered with plantings of nearly 50 species of native grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees benefiting a variety of wildlife.

If you know of someone (or someones) who may be interested in joining in the fun at McLain State Park and/or Sand Point, please let them know the details.

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