Madison County Park Board fights invasive plants

May have more volunteers through community group

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski -

Madison County’s Park Board has discussed working with an organization that helps young adults learn skills useful for labor jobs, so the board can remove invasive plants from the county’s nature preserves.

Julia Cummings of the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District told Commissioners during Monday’s Park Board meeting that they have planned a Honeysuckle removal day at Little Darby State Scenic Preserve on Saturday, April 29 at 9 a.m.

Honeysuckle plants grow tall and prevent local wildflowers from blooming, taking over areas.

Originally scheduled for January, Cumming said she hopes to provide snacks and water to participants, which she further hopes will come in droves to help clear the invasive weeds.

A group called Capabilities Inc. might be able to provide much needed help.

Friends of the Madison County Parks and Trails Executive Director Wayne Roberts was contacted by the group, which focuses on giving young people life skills that will help them find careers without a college education.

Roberts said that all of the students participating with the group would be out of Madison County with the organizers coming from Capabilities’ office in Circleville.

The group lets the young adults work Monday through Thursday for five hours a day for about four consecutive weeks. They would assist the soil and water district as they remove invasive plants like Honeysuckle and garlic mustard from trails and the Little Darby Preserve.

The group gives the students work for four consecutive weeks so they have options beyond working outside, which can be cancelled due to weather.

“They will still need something on rainy days, so Wayne suggested we combine maybe with London Parks who also has a big need,” she said. “Maybe they could handle the rainy day side of things with projects inside their buildings or things like that.”

London Safety Service Director Joe Mosier and Mayor Pat Closser seemed receptive to the idea and were interested in discussing with Cumming further.

As Capabilities tries to provide training for young adults, Cummings had the idea of getting one of them certified to help spread weed killer.

“A lot of the students are under the age of 18 but maybe some of them over 18 could be trained to apply the herbicide on them to prevent re-sprouting,” said Cumming.

The commissioners said the district and the friends should consult County Engineer Bryan Dhume for guidance to ensure any work is done safely.

For more information on the honeysuckle clearing, contact Howard Yoder at 614-562-2013 or

Other business from Monday’s Commissioners meeting:

• Roberts said he is still working on getting a final game plan on getting the Ohio to Erie bike trail extension finished.

Currently they are working with the County Engineer Bryan Dhume on figuring out how to remove the stumps on the property.

The commissioners and the Friends of the Parks and Trails purchased a five-acre plot near the intersection of Maple and Center streets in order to fill part of more than a mile-long gap which disconnects the trail between the Columbus portion and the Clark County portion of the trail.

The Friends say that they need $78,000 to finish the bike trail extension and are currently raising funds. They claim to have about 37 percent of the final goal.

They also applied for a grant with the Rails to Trails Conservancy for a minimum $20,000. The grant can be as high as $50,000. The Friends will find out if they received the grant on June 3. Cumming said they haven’t heard back yet.

Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 308, London, OH 43140 or submitted online on their website,

• Rebecca Hunt, a representative from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, introduced herself to the commissioners.
May have more volunteers through community group

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski

Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.

Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.