Japanese knot weed, pictured here, has already choked off several sections of The Branch near Elizabethtown, which have made it impossible to fish a once productive trout stream; and the weed has taken over the riverbanks along the Boquet River.
If foreign armies had advanced as deeply into the Adirondack Park as the current invasion of invasive plants has progressed, local citizens would be up in arms. We’d call out the militia to confront the terrorists.
However, these sneaky little weeds, benign bugs and pretty little flowers continue to gradually work their way into our local communities, waterways, fields and forests.
It is an unlikely invasion that is rapidly changing the character of the park, and it has the potential to severely ;limit the availability of many of our traditional recreational pursuits.
Japanese knot weed has already choked off several sections of The Branch near Elizabethtown, which have made it impossible to fish a once productive trout stream; and the weed has taken over the riverbanks along the Boquet River.
A major part of the problem is that nobody notices the damn invasives until it is too late, even though the weeds, the bugs and other foreign critters are often hiding in plain sight.
Nobody brings the foreigners into the region on purpose, they are not invited in. Rather they arrive on the wings of a bird, in the bilge of a boat or simply in the hubcap of a passing vehicle. They are sneaky and insidious.
But unlike tourists, once they get in, they never want to leave. They are resistant to the worse weather the Adirondacks have to offer. Blackflies, no-see-ums, and deer flies don’t seem to deter them a bit; nor do floods, frost heaves or slow moving log trucks.
As an old friend, whose back fields have been overrun by Japanese knot weed recently exclaimed, “Those damn invasives are like the APA, they just showed up one day and took over my land, and I jut can’t make them to leave!”
Essex County has it’s share of problems ranging from Japanese knot weed to garlic mustard and beyond.
Hamilton County has also had a few cases of Giant Hogweed, a large plant with a vicious venom that is enhanced by sunlight. Hogweed has also be discovered in Essex County and it poses an imminent threat to human health.
Worse yet, the invaders are not limited simply to plants and flowers. They come in all shapes, sizes and species, as is evident in the growing tick problem in the Champlain Valley which have made a simple walk in the woods a regular exercise in self discovery upon coming home.
Following my recent forays in and around Elizabethtown in recent weeks, I’ve removed over a dozen ticks from my person.
Most of my adventures were water based, wading the streams or floating the rivers. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a turkey hunter sitting on the ground.
Many locals wonder, “If it is already so bad, what can we do?”. Well, the first step begins with identifying the problem.
When our parents and grandparents we kids, they all learned how to identify foreign threats. they learned it in the schools, and they learned it at home, and kids who lived along the coastlines spent their days scanning the skies for planes.
Most US citizens could readily identify the shape and markings of over two dozen Axis aircraft, and they were ever alert to their presence.
Sadly, most local residents don’t know how to recognize invasive Japanese knot weed even when it is in their own front yard.
If we are ever to eradicate this stuff, we must learn how to identify it; and how to safely and effectively remove it.
In many cases, invasives can not be simply mowed down or pulled up.
If we ever hope to bequeath our children with the same wonderful Adirondack environment that we’ve so long enjoyed, there is a pressing need to mobilize concerned citizens to take action now.
Attend workshops, educate yourself and your friends before it’s too late. Open your eyes, look around and protect your home turf for future generations!
Training set on how to control common invasive plants
KEENE VALLEY — The growing season is underway and with it comes troublesome invasive plants. The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is hosting a free training session that provides landowners with instruction on how to control unwanted infestations of invading plants, such as Japanese knot weed and garlic mustard. Participants will learn how to identify common invasive terrestrial plants and how to apply effective management techniques on their own lands. The training will include presentations and in-field demonstrations. Landowners, landscapers, gardeners, resource managers and highway department staff are encouraged to attend.
The training is on Tuesday, July 1st at the Indian Lake Ski Hut in Indian Lake from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but RSVP is requested by June 27th to Brendan Quirion at 518-576-2082 x 118 or email@example.com.
More than 40 invasive plants are invading woods, wetlands and waters in the Adirondacks. Infestations affect both public and private lands, and landowners and land managers struggle with how to best manage invasive plants. Repeat treatments are often necessary to achieve successful control. Well-intentioned but sometimes misinformed management can do more harm than good. APIPP’s terrestrial invasive plant management training provides guidance on best techniques to set up control projects for success.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program is a partnership program protecting the Adirondack region from the negative impacts of invasive species. Find out more information at APIPP’s new website www.adkinvasives.com.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.