Crow’s Nest: Volunteer accomplishments and opportunities

December 1, 2021

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Volunteers cutting vines at Crow's Nest Preserve

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Today our volunteers went to a totally different part of the preserve than they’ve ever been to before: what used to be the southwest corner of the preserve before we added 82 more acres of Warwick Woods to it. This is a remote corner of the preserve where the Horse-Shoe Trail crosses Mine Run, and no matter which way you travel to get to it, it’s about a half mile from road access. That’s one reason it has been easy for the invasive plants to gain the upper hand (leaf?) at this location—it requires a large uninterrupted chunk of time to get over there and do anything, and any tool you use you have to carry in by hand.

A few hours of concerted effort by volunteers wielding loppers and saws put a dent in the “green wall of thorns.” Then I followed up with a little more work with a chainsaw on the larger ones, and the area looks much better. The Horse-Shoe Trail there was hemmed in by multiflora rose, privet, and barberry, making any step off the trail an unpleasant experience. Now the view into the surrounding forest is opened up.

Winter is a good time of year to do this work—you can see what you’re doing and warm clothing helps protect you from thorns. Another reason this was the right time to do this work is that the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy is getting ready to do some more workdays to improve the tread way of the trail with gravel and a raised trail bed called a “turnpike.” Work on this project started in 2018 and will soon be finished. If you’d like to join us, the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy will be running a couple volunteer days to spread gravel on this trail soon: December 11 and 12 in morning and afternoon shifts. We’ll be loading gravel from a pile onto wheelbarrows and moving it further down the trail to where it’s needed; it’s grueling work but it is making the trail pretty great to walk on. And now it will be easier to work on the trail without the vines and thorns so close on either side. Contact me at the preserve to sign up for these volunteer days—since this is work being done with a partner organization you won’t find this event on the Natural Lands website.

We’re grateful for all our volunteers!

Volunteers posing after a successful morning cutting vines

Photo: Daniel Barringer