Invasive Species Removal for Picnic Shelter & Trail Accessibility Project (2019-2020)
In 2019, The Friends of Lapham Peak (FLP) applied for a grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund. The grant was to co-fund two efforts, both dealing with the removal of invasive species within the Park at these locations:
- The Mike Fort Picnic Shelter (Crown-Vetch and Buckthorn)
- And the meadow, trails, and areas surrounding our hike in backpack campsite (Autumn Olive and Buckthorn)
We received the grant in the fall of 2019, and planned work for the winter and spring of 2020. Our original estimates planned on using FLP Invasive Species & Habitat Restoration volunteers (a.k.a., Buckthorn Busters) plus middle school & high school and corporate volunteer helpers. When COVID-19 shut the park down for 3 weeks and restricted volunteer work for two months early in 2020, alternative plans were put in place to use a small team of seasoned FLP Habitat Restoration volunteers, a hired contractor, and DNR personnel as consultants.
Mike Fort Picnic Shelter:
Herbicide was applied by volunteers in the spring to Crown-Vetch and Buckthorn seedlings around and through the gardens and landscaping at the Shelter. A follow-up treatment was applied at the end of the summer months, and the invasive issue here has been addressed. A follow-up plan has been established to return to each treated area at least once a year to evaluate the retreat as needed. The landscaping is again beautiful and welcoming as well as honoring to the man that this shelter was named for.
Backpack Campsite, Trails, and Meadow:
Invasive and dangerous Autumn Olive, and Buckthorn with some Honey Suckle had completely clogged the meadow and trails surrounding our park’s hike-in backpack campsite. The project overcame many obstacles, from 12" deep snow to COVID-19 with Park closures and volunteer efforts halted for two months. The “millions and millions” of 8-12 foot tall brush had to be mowed down several times using Skid-Steers and a Mowing Deck.
Then the remaining invasive plants were herbicided by hand using backpack sprayers, and also using large tank sprayers mounted to a UTV. Now, follow-on efforts have 1) rebuilt the campsite with 2 new benches, a new picnic table, a new firepit with cooking grate, and refurbished the outhouse/restroom there; and, 2) will allow for a 2021/2022 effort to re-plant the meadow and establish native plantings in this area.
The Friends of Lapham Peak would not have begun this project without the support and funding of the C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant. We truly appreciate the funding help that was provided to us for this work!
We also thank Kettle Moraine Land Stewards, LLC (Chris Mann) for Fecon Mowing and consultation that he provided for us.