On Martin Luther King Jr. Day our hostel teamed up with Portland Parks and Recreation to pull ivy in Forest Park.
Ivy is an invasive species in the Pacific Northwest and is illegal to sell, buy, or plant here. According to Oregon State University, it does its damage “by completely engulfing shrubs and by encircling tree trunks of all sizes, leaving nothing uncovered. Shrubs shrouded in ivy may eventually die because light can’t reach their leaves. The sheer weight of the extra vegetation also weakens the plant it grows on, making it more susceptible to disease and blowdown. Trees usually survive ivy invasion, even though weakened by retaining a “broccoli head” of foliage at the very top.” (more here)
Most of Forest Park’s 5,000 acres is covered in ivy. The city has been fighting to remove it since 1992 with the help of Portland Parks and Recreation and the work of many, many volunteers. Our team decided to join in the effort to honor MLK this year.
On January 17th we met with Mary Verrilli of Portland Parks and Recreation at Lower Macleay Park. Mary started us out with a short lesson on the history of ivy in the Pacific Northwest and the importance of removing it from our parks. Then we hiked for a mile to the Holman trail entrance of Forest Park where we spent four hours picking, pulling, cutting, and grunting.
The process of removing ivy is a very very muddy one, but it is also very satisfying. It was a great feeling to look back over the area and see it was ivy free. We saved you trees and ferns! And we can’t wait to help out again!
Here’s some pictures from the day: