The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department is closing a portion of its Rail Trail beginning today to remove invasive plants.
The group is removing the Asian bush honeysuckle and the wintercreeper from six acres of the trail. Park officials say removing the plants will make the trail safer by providing a longer and clearer line of site for pedestrians.
John Behrman is a natural resources vegetation laborer for the city. He says even though the plants are pretty, they can cause a lot of trouble.
“It prevents the forest from regenerating itself by preventing saplings from coming up. It also removes the vegetative layer of the spring ephemerals and all those woodland wildflowers that we like to see but also are super important for our pollinators,” he says.
Behrman says they’re removing the plants during the dormant season because it’s the best time to protect not only humans, but also animals.
“We’re doing the least ecological damage we can,” Behrman says. “You know, anytime you’re doing a process like this it is very rough and tumble, but the results can be very positive.
Behrman says this phase of the removal will be completed by Friday afternoon, but they will back in the early summer to spray with herbicides. After that, they hope to plant native grasses and wildflowers. They plan to see results beginning next fall.