Wanted: Dead Rather Than Alive

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St. Johnswort - NPS Photo

When they arrive in Glacier National Park, it’s not necessarily by the dead of night, for seeds are so small most people don’t notice them. They’re blowing on the wind, carried by birds, hidden on your trousers and shoes, clinging to your backpack, and even on your car and pop-up camper.

We’re talking about plants out of place, better known as noxious invasive weeds such as St. Johnswort and spotted knapweed. Unfortunately, such weeds are hardy and adaptable. Worse yet, they disrupt the natural plants in otherwise well-balanced park habitats including wildlife.

Spotted Knapweed - NPS Photo

According to the Crown of the Continent Research Center, there are 126 invasive plant species in Glacier, fifteen of which are considered noxious. One of those–spotted knapweed–is so nasty that it kills nearby plants by secreting a toxic chemical into the soil!

Wanted: Dead, if Not Gone: Glacier’s Noxious Weeds

Spotted Knapweed
Canada Thistle
Leafy Spurge
Dalmatian Toadfl ax
Yellow Toadfl ax
Sulfur Cinquefoil
St. Johnswort
Oxeye Daisy
Houndstongue
Common Tansy
Field Bindweed
Orange Hawkweed
Meadow Hawkweed Complex
Tall Buttercup
Tansy Ragwort

Citizen Scientists

On Friday, July 30th, the park will hold its first annual Noxious Weed Blitz. Noxious Weed Blitz participants will be trained to assist Glacier’s Invasive Plant Management Program by learning to identify, map and pull invasive plants. They’re encouraged to bring water, clothes suitable for hiking, and heavy gloves.

The heavy gloves will be used after lunch as volunteers head out on the western side of the park to pull weeds. Interested in weeding Glacier National Park? Contact the Crown of the Continent Research Center at 406-888-7986 or via e-mail to sign up.

Volunteers will assemble at the West Glacier Community Building. The blitz will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will be provided with a free lunch and a noxious weeds field guide.

Sales of this Glacier Park novel benefit the park.

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4 responses

  1. You know we’re having very good luck with an insect that kills spotted knapweed, which I think is the worst of the lot.

    • Hadn’t heard of that. Hope it doesn’t turn into a horror film insect once it eats all the knapweed and gets angry when there’s nothing else for it to eat. 🙂