On Saturday June 3rd, ten members from Waynesville’s First United Methodist Church came out to our Doubleside Knob conservation property to help removed invasive Oriental Bittersweet vines.
This tract is located within SAHC’s French Broad River Valley Conservation Focus Area. The heart of this area is the French Broad River, which is believed to be the third oldest river in the world — even pre-dating the ancient Appalachian Mountains. Our efforts to protect land in this area contribute to clean streams and rivers. Properties like Doubleside Knob are often adjacent to or contain headwater streams, and protecting the land helps protect these clean water sources.
Unfortunately, some of these properties are experiencing pressure from invasive species. Invasive species spread so fast that managing them quickly becomes difficult. Volunteers provide crucial manpower to help with these stewardship efforts.
Volunteers from Waynesville’s First United Methodist Church gave their time on Saturday to help clear out a pernicious patch of exotic Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), a vine that threatens to take over entire forests. Oriental Bittersweet vines produce seeds that are carried across forests by small animals such as birds as squirrels, and also travel by wind, causing them to spread with incredible speed. When mature, these vines wrap themselves around trees and as they grow, producing a constricting effect which can girdle and kill the trees.
During this workday, SAHC AmeriCorps member Ben Linthicum led volunteers to cut large vines and clear approximately two acres of detrimental Oriental Bittersweet vines. We are very grateful to volunteers from the Waynesville First United Methodist Church for helping us steward this special place to protect the health of the forest and streams!
“The French Broad is a river and a watershed and a way of life where day-before-yesterday and day-after-tomorrow exist in odd and fascinating harmony.” -Wilma Dykeman, 1955