We've got issues! Invasive plant issues, that is. Perhaps you have noticed them while blasting along the DT, or in your backyard: Knotweed. Garlic Mustard. Leafy Spurge. Wild Parsnip. Tansy. And everyone's favorite: Buckthorn! And there are more. COGGS and the City of Duluth are partnering with The Duluth Collaborative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), to protect our trails and green space, and try to proactively manage infestations.
What You Need to Know
Specifically, Knotweed herbicide treatments will occur on the COGGS Trails Sept. 3–13 at a number of different sites. Trail closures will be necessary for 24-hours after herbicide treatment at each site. Duluth City Parks Staff worked especially hard along with Duluth CISMA to secure a MN Dept of Ag funds to treat patches at Chester Rim, at Hovland Lane and at Kingsbury Creek above the zoo. Applications along the Superior Hiking Trail will also take place at the Forgotten Park knotweed patch (section North 24th Ave West to Twin Ponds) - also close to a COGGS trail intersection. Boreal Natives, the contractors hired, will be applying foliar treatments.
For your safety, please obey trail closures. Keep yourself, kids, and pets off the trails if you see signage stating trails closed for herbicide treatment. It will be obvious. There will be orange snow fencing across the trail and signs stating that this section of trail is closed. Please follow the detour, even if it's a PITA. It's only for 24 hours.
Pro Tips to Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants
Invasive plants can cause high trail maintenance costs including herbicide treatments, personal safety, and damages to the environment. Please help do your part by following these steps below. We don't want to spread invasive plants.
Mountain Biking-Specific Tips
Before: Before hitting the trail, check your bike and gear for vegetation, seeds, and mud. Look in tricky spots like around brake calipers, between sprockets, under your saddle, around your bottom bracket, and in the cleats of your bike shoes. If you find anything, remove it before leaving home.
During: Stay on the established trail and avoid muddy spots. Wandering off-trail will increase your chances of picking up seeds—or mud that can carry seeds and vegetation.
After: Before going home, check yourself and your bike for seeds, soil, and vegetation. Clean off anything you find as best you can before leaving the trailhead. Don’t bring invasive species home. If there is something stuck in a place you can’t reach without a tool or hose, visit a car wash or a cleaning station on your way home. A clean bike not only is good for the environment, but it also is good for reducing future maintenance issues. Get stoked on cleaning.
How to Recognize the Primary Invasive Species
Aside from the usual suspects: buckthorn, tansy, & invasive honeysuckles... here are the TOP THREE invasive plants found along COGGS Mountain Bike Trails:
1. Invasive knotweeds (looks like bamboo)
Knotweed patch in Kingsbury Creek
Avoid spreading knotweed patches by staying on the trail at on the COGGS Chester Rim Trail at Hovland Lane near Kenwood Ave and the honkin' patch on the COGGS Kingsbury Creek Trail above the Lake Superior Zoo. Both patches will be treated this September. Signs will be posted during and for 1 week after treatment.
2. Garlic mustard (leaves smell like garlic when crushed)
Garlic Mustard. Sounds good - but it's not.
Their tiny seeds spread easy and we are trying not to catch up with MI infestations or those in MN Twin Cities. Learn to identify this plant and let the Duluth CISMA know if you have spotted this plant. There are many plants that can look similar to garlic mustard when it first appears in the spring before flowering. Consult identification guides or your nearest plant nerd. Thus far, garlic mustard has been mapped and pulled along the COGGS WestChester Trail adjacent to the College of St. Scholastica. The informal Dirt Bike Park in West Duluth near Menards Way has a large, healthy patch.
3. Leafy spurge
Leafy Spurge. Kinda pretty. Bad kitty.
Leafy spurge is found on the COGGS Chester Rim Trail section that parallels Kenwood Avenue. Identification tip: Leafy spurge and it's relative cypress spurge have milky sap if you snap off the stem.
Also: be on the look out for others like wild parsnip that is spreading in the area. Make sure not to confuse with the native cow parsnip plant which has white flower or golden alexander commonly used in native seed plantings around the City of Duluth. Wild parsnip sap causes blistering to humans and pets! Seriously ouch!
The wrath of wild parsnip sap
Get to know what these plants look like for your own benefit. You may find them in your backyard, or in other patches around town. Contact CISMA with any questions. An additional resource is Play. Clean. Go. where you can find more information on invasives. Check out their MTB video here.
About Duluth CISMA
Who We Are: A group of city, county, & state agencies, non-profit organizations, community associations, & private citizens.
Our Mission: to help citizens & communities protect our lands from the damages caused by invasive species.
Do you have any questions regarding the Duluth CISMA? If so, please don’t hesitate to ask CISMA Coordinator Lori Seele by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (218) 393-9581.