Volunteers picked up chainsaws, shovels and axes Saturday to help fight off foreign invaders at Island Acres State Park.
Limbes lay scattered across the park as an army of volunteers hacked chopped and chipped their way through Tamarisk and Russian Olive. Tyler Miles was just one out of thirty volunteers helping the Colorado State Parks and other organizations clean out the invasive species at James M. Robb Colorado River State Park at Island Acres. Miles says, "Came fishing here before."
Parks employee Larry Butterfield says the railroad used the Tamarisk to stabilize the river bank before they laid tracks. "At the time it was a good idea but in hind sight, not such a good idea," says Butterfield. Tamarisk and Russian Olive choke out the natural vegetation. "And it uses up a lot of water that we all need," says, Butterfield.
This year marks the 50th anniversary for Colorado State Parks and every park picks one day to hold a work project, for island acres today was that day. Miles says, "It wasn't too hard some of the digging was a little rough."
If left uncheck the Tamarisk and Russian Olive could infiltrate the area and eventual destroy all natural vegetation. Butterfield says with the help of the volunteers they were able to push back a large portion of the foreign invaders but the war is far from over. Butterfield says, "We still got a good amount ahead but we got a lot done and we're happy with what we got accomplished."
Along with the clearing the volunteers also planted more than 200 natural species of trees. Something Miles was happy to help with, even if he did have ulterior motives. Miles admits, "My science teacher offered 50 bonus points for people that would come out and help."
Either way, it’s a nice way to earn that 'A' for Miles and a step in the right direction for Butterfield.