Dayton hikers help clear invasive plants to pave way for new trail

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“Part of our mission is to restore wetlands and get people to visit and enjoy them,” said Beth Edsall, outreach director for the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association. “And we want people walking along the trails to see Ohio as it was hundreds of years ago.”

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Impact of invasive species

In an article recently published in Ecological Restoration, biologists from the University of Cincinnati explained how invasive species introduced to the United States over the past century are crowding out many native plants in southwestern Ohio.

This is something Edsall unfortunately sees first hand.

“For wetlands to thrive, we need native plants,” she said.

Invasive species, like honeysuckle, threaten native plants as well as native wildlife, making efforts like the Dayton Hikers extremely important.

“It’s so valuable to have partnerships with them and others in the community, especially because getting rid of invasive species is an ongoing project,” Edsall said.

Make the difference

“We have a lot of people who regularly use our local trails without ever giving back,” Niekamp said. “This is a great opportunity for them to give back to our trails.”

While most parks have paid work crews, much of the work on the trails is done by volunteers – a win-win situation for everyone involved.

“Volunteers are surprised to learn how rewarding trail work can be,” Niekamp said. “I like organizing and leading trail teams. There is an incredible sense of accomplishment that volunteers feel when they see their project completed.

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The Dayton Hikers not only provide volunteers, but also collect donations to pay for the rental of a shredder for easier disposal. For more information on Dayton Hikers’ upcoming honeysuckle elimination efforts, visit www.meetup.com/daytonhikers/events.

Spotted Turtle Trail at a Glance

For more information visit https://beavercreekwetlands.org/trail-project/

· The Spotted Turtle Trail project is a seven-phase project, currently in phase two.

  • The completed trail will be 15 miles long with loops and spurs totaling over 40 miles of trail.
  • Will connect 19 parks and preserves owned by the Town of Fairborn, Town of Beavercreek, Township of Beavercreek, Greene County Parks and Trails, ODNR Wildlife Division, Natural Areas Division and ODNR Reserves and the Beaver Creek Wetlands Association.
  • Each phase will consist of one aspect of the restoration.
  • Parking lots and new access points will be added, including direct access from surrounding neighborhoods.
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