Trash and Invasive Plants

Catchy title, right? Hopefully you take the time to read this, because they are important topics.

Trash – we all love it – generally not!  I will say I found a $20 bill once amongst the trash; had a nice lunch that day!  Beyond that, I am not a fan of trash. Invasive plants – likely to strike up a healthy debate among many Association members.

The National Park Service appreciates what we do, rest assured of that.  However, they are seriously understaffed, especially in the maintenance area.  They have their hands full maintaining the towpath, structures and facilities.  They aren’t able to get out on the towpath as much as they would like, and they are also trying to reduce the amount of driving they do on the towpath to minimize the impact of truck traffic on the towpath.

For this reason, The NPS has asked me to request that you limit the amount of trash that you pick up to what you can haul off.  If you leave a pile of trash or debris along the towpath or at a site, it could be days before they can get to it.  In that event it becomes an eyesore for visitors and a source of complaints. We also don’t want to add to their already high workload. I recommend that you focus on the trash on the towpath and most visible; we can only do so much.

As with all National Park Service policies, I ask that you respect them and follow the policies and guidance passed on the NPS.

The second part of this message is passed on by the National Park Service, and pertains to a training opportunity related to invasive plants.  This message is passed on by Cyrus Chimento, the new Invasive Plants and Restoration Volunteer Coordinator at the C&O Canal National Historical Park, taking over from Kristi Shelton.  Those of us who met or worked with Kristi know that she is yet another one of the park’s amazing interns; she asked us to monitor emerald ash borer damage last year. I look forward to working with Cyrus as well. The message follows:

This past year, the Kristi has worked to reinvigorate C&O Canal NHP’s Weed Warrior program. This program teaches and certifies volunteers to maintain the natural vegetation of the C&O Canal by removing non-native invasive plants throughout the park. The C&O Canal is home to many different ecosystems and hundreds of rare, threatened and endangered species, so controlling the spread of invasive species is a critical effort that the park needs the support of volunteers to carry out. 

I wanted to extend an invitation to any volunteers in your programs that might be interested in helping to manage the vegetation along the canal to attend the Weed Warriors Training session. I am holding the Weed Warriors Training session on Friday, May 5th, 2017 at Great Falls Tavern, from 9:30am to 1:30pm. 

The training will start with a presentation indoors and, following a lunch break, some time outside around the Tavern for demonstrations and IDs. Those that complete the training will receive certification to remove specific invasive species in their chosen section of the park, Volunteer Service Agreements, and access to online resources compiled for specific species and sections of the park.There is limited space so please let us know as soon as possible if want to attend (RSVP below). The parking fee at Great Falls Tavern will be waived for those attending this training.


Volunteers who attend training should bring:

  • Lunch
  • Sturdy shoes suitable for the outdoors
  • Sturdy clothes suitable for the outdoors
  • Water
  • Sun protection

Photo – Culvert 141 outflow with flora – native or invasive?; June 1, 2013 – Level 42