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Volunteers sought to pick invasive plant

Redwood National and State Parks is looking for volunteers for the sixth annual Broom Bash in the Bald Hills on Saturday.

Volunteers who help remove the invasive Scotch broom from the Bald Hills will be able to hear an illustrated talk detailing the rich cultural history of the area and enjoy some spring colors.

Using historic photographs of the area, Park Ranger Jim Wheeler will describe the way the region has been used by Native Americans and Euro-American settlers, including a family that dominated sheep ranching in the Bald Hills from the 1860s to 1960s. 

Native Americans used to keep the hills “bald” using fire in order to create hunting grounds for elk and deer as well as create oak woodlands for acorns and plant materials for basket weaving, Wheeler said.

“The prairies of the Bald Hills are flush with a new carpet of green grasses in early spring, providing an emerald backdrop to the redwood high country for our efforts,” a parks press release said. 

Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. at the Kuchel Visitor Center 1 mile south of Orick on Highway 101, where they will share a snack, get organized, and caravan up into the Bald Hills. 

After a couple of hours of pulling Scotch broom with weed wrenches, the group will have lunch followed by the illustrated talk.

“Bald Hills is one of the most beautiful sections of the park here,” Wheeler said. “The prairies and woodlands are vast landscapes that are very beautiful.”

Bring a bag lunch, drinking water, work clothes (with layers for changeable North Coast weather conditions), and work gloves if you have them. Gloves and all other equipment needed will be provided by the parks.

For more information, contact Jim Wheeler at (707) 465-7764, or Laura Julian at (707) 465-7787.

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