Volunteers fought against noxious weeds all over Gallitin Valley in Big Sky, Montana to help clean up the river and promote growth of the natural knapweed.
“Under the threat of heaving rain, twenty-four brave volunteers made a difference in the fight against noxious weeds along the treasured Gallatin River. On Saturday, June 9, the Gallatin/Big Sky Noxious Weed Committee in partnership with Madison-Gallatin Trout Unlimited held the fourth annual weed pull and river clean up day. Volunteers came from various groups to help set a new record by collecting 1120 pounds of noxious weeds and trash. Not only were the 24 volunteers to be commended for braving the advancing rain storms, but they out-pulled last year’s 28 volunteers by 60 lbs! …volunteers split into 5 teams and headed to various locations along the Gallatin River to collect noxious weeds and trash. Each team had a leader who helped with plant identification, so only noxious weeds were pulled. The cleanup sites chosen were heavily used recreation sites on public land: Cameron Bridge Fishing Access site; 30 acres of forest service property located just north of Rock Haven Camp; unnamed boat launch just south of Storm Castle bridge; Storm Castle River Access; and Portal Creek Flats. Portal Creek Flats has been a pull site for the past three years, and while returning volunteers noticed fewer weeds due to their efforts, a few patches of spotted knapweed were extremely healthy this year, highlighting a well known issue about noxious weeds: it takes multiple years of aggressive treatment to eliminate established noxious weed patches. While volunteers remained relatively dry for most of the morning, at 11:30 am thunder sounded the final call and rain began to come down. Bags were collected and disposed of, and volunteers dispersed in seek of shelter from the cold rain.”