Just off the Osceola Loop Trail south of Saint Croix Falls is a valley—a brief gulch between blufftop and backwater that forms a V-shaped cleft with lichen-stained boulders, a seeping ledge, a couple fat white pines and more varieties of ferns than I can identify. There is also buckthorn.
I hate buckthorn. You might too if you’ve ever been pleasantly strolling through an open wood and suddenly run into a wall of it.
“I bet I can squeeze through,” you might say. Five minutes later, ten feet farther, with arms and legs that will have people at the grocery store the next day gossiping about you having become a cutter, it’ll be time to turn around.
Many places are so invaded clearing would require a team with chainsaws, gallons of herbicide and years of return visits. However, in other spots, like my valley, the buckthorn plants are still small enough to pull from the ground with your hands, or with Weed Wrenches made available by the National Park Service. I am hoping to have the valley mostly cleared after a few more visits.
Currently, my pal John and I pull when we can. We clean little bits here and there. There’s only so much two people can do. What about you? Come pull! Delay the spread of buckthorn monoculture.
Pull for fun. Use it as an excuse to stand in the woods and look at forest things.
Pull for exercise. An hour of torqueing trees out of the ground will leave you sore the next day.
Go whenever you’d like. However, working on National Park land requires filling out a form at the park office in Saint Croix Falls. This can be quick and easy.
Please join us!