Volunteers sought for Public Lands Day

Story Submitted (mtfrontdesk@mountaintimes.com)

Article Published: Sep. 27, 2012 | Modified: Oct. 1, 2012

Sept. 29 is National Public Lands Day.

It is the single largest day of volunteer service with more than 170,000 volunteers serving their public lands in 2011.

This year, Wild South is calling on volunteers to meet up for a day in the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

“Our goal for the day is help eliminate nonnative invasive plants from the wilderness. These invasive plants are threatening the ecosystems of the gorge and we need to act fast,” said Ben Prater, Wild South associate director.

Interested volunteers are invited to join Wild South at 10 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 29, at Wiseman’s View on the western side of the gorge.

The day will begin with a workshop hosted by the Western North Carolina Alliance, which will teach volunteers to identify nonnative invasive plants and discuss how they can help defend their own property from these pests.

“The only way to truly protect wild places is to make sure we are all doing our part to control these invasive plants at home, and we will show you how," said Bob Gale, Western North Carolina Alliance ecologist.

Lunch will be provided, so participants must register to attend. After lunch and a brief safety training, volunteers will head down into the gorge to get to work pulling weeds along trails.

This is hard work on steep terrain, so please be prepared, Prater said. Wild South will provide all tools and safety gear, but please bring your daypack with plenty of water and snacks and weather appropriate clothing. Please bring work gloves if you have them and wear sturdy boots.

The workday will conclude by 5 p.m. But for those wishing to stay a little later, they might have a chance to witness the mysterious “Brown Mountain Lights,” as Wiseman’s View provides an excellent vantage point, according to Prater.

Those interested in taking part should visit http://www.wildsouth.org or email (ben@wildsouth.org)

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