Snowmass trail talks: Open season on weeds of all breeds | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass trail talks: Open season on weeds of all breeds

Town of Snowmass Parks, Recreation and Trails Department
Special to the Snowmass Sun

Editor's note: The Snowmass Sun and the town of Snowmass Parks, Recreation and Trails Department have partnered to launch "Trail Talks," a biweekly series that will explore trail issues, etiquette and rules for shared trail use in the village.

At this year's Town Clean Up, we tackled the trash that lay in front of us, under bushes, in the creeks and along the roadside with the goal to make Snowmass Village look fresh and polished for wildflowers to sprout and take the show for summer. While picking up trash, we noticed a bigger problem: noxious weeds, which are a hindrance for our local flora.

I led a group of volunteers on the Nature and South Rim Connector trails.

As we walked down the trail the volunteer behind me said, "I like that plant with the purple flower, what is it?" The woman following her quickly moved ahead and said, "It's a noxious weed," and grabbed it by it's throat-like sturdy stem, removing its gigantic taproot and quickly put it in her garbage bag.

At this point, I realized the majority of people are not aware which plants are weeds versus wildflowers.

This summer, the town of Snowmass Village would like to declare open season on noxious weeds. We would like to eradicate those aggressive weeds to allow our native plants to thrive.

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What is a noxious weed, you ask?

According to Pitkin County, the term noxious weed is a political (rather than scientific) designation given to a plant that is non-native to North America and has aggressive, invasive tendencies in our area, giving it the potential for serious economic, agricultural and/or ecological damage.

How do noxious weeds affect the environment?

Often these weeds are kept in check by natural controls (e.g. predators, environmental conditions, etc.) in its native territory.

However, lacking such controls in our area, these plants are able to propagate very aggressively, allowing them to crowd out native plants and dominate local plant communities. They threaten our drinking water supply, agricultural crops, ecosystems and native habitats. Often these weeds are kept in check by natural controls (e.g. insects, climate, etc.) in their native territory.

However, lacking such controls in our area, these plants are able to spread aggressively, allowing them to crowd out native plants, dominate local plant communities and destroy local ecosystems.

Where do I find out more about local noxious weeds?

In 2016, Snowmass Village started a town-wide noxious weed education program. It included identification and removal information, an educational video and an incentive based weed removal program. Check out our website at http://www.snowmassrecreation.com/340/Noxious-Weeds for more.

What can you do to help?

Our "Bag of Weed" program will start Monday. Stop by the Snowmass Village Recreation Center to pick up your trash bags and learn more about our local weeds.

Join the 2017 Community Weed Pull on June 30 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

We will meet at the Recreation center: Snowmass Village Recreation Center at 2835 Brush Creek Road. Lunch will be provided.

For more information on both of these events, visit http://www.snowmassrecreation.com/340/Noxious-Weeds.

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