Friday, December 12, 2014

The Struggle Continues to Rescue the Trees

As 2014 draws to a close, we are proud to report that we have logged 808 volunteer hours for Shepherd Parkway this year. 

About 700 hours were spent removing an estimated 24,000 pounds (12 tons) of trash, construction materials, car parts, tires, furniture and other man-made debris from the park. 

The bulk of the remaining 108 hours were spent removing invasive species, canvassing, attending meetings, and maintaining his blog.

On Saturday, December 6, eight faithful volunteers logged twenty-four volunteer hours while cutting English ivy from more than 60 trees.

It was the first community clean-up since 2013 to focus on the urgent task of chopping down the fast-growing vines, which weaken and eventually kill trees by robbing their roots of water and nutrition, damaging their bark, weighing them down, and blocking sunlight to their leaves.

In 2011 and 2012 we were able to eliminate English ivy from the tree canopy in the 40 acres of parkland north of Malcolm X Avenue, and in 2013 we did the same with the area from Malcolm X Avenue south to South Capitol Street.  Major infestations effecting hundreds of trees remain in the southern half of Shepherd Parkway.

English ivy is a huge threat to forests throughout the eastern United States, and the efforts of volunteers, though valiant, and so far been insufficient to the scale of the problem.

Through sustained effort, we hope make Shepherd Parkway one of the only forests forests in the DC area to be free from English ivy.  

For more information, see the August 2013 post Saving Our Trees from the Alien Invaders.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Congresswoman Norton Issues Press Release on Shepherd Parkway

Norton’s East of the River Town Hall Produces Action on Crime at Shepherd Parkway and Kenilworth Parks

November 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that she was pleased with the initial progress that followed last month’s “Capital Parks East Town Hall,” the first to be held concerning National Park Service (NPS) parks east of the Anacostia River.  In the weeks since Norton’s town hall, the stakeholders have moved on two of the four action items of concern east of the river. 

U.S. Park Police (USPP) has cracked down on crime, including thirteen arrests in Shepherd Parkway, an urban park in Southeast with a wooded corridor of wildlife and the remains of two Civil War-era forts.  Making Shepherd Parkway accessible so residents can see the rare plants and natural resources has become possible now that USPP is patrolling the park and surrounding area and arresting criminals.  

NPS and USPP also agreed to make sure that Kenilworth Park, another NPS park east of the river, is kept safe.  There are lights in the park, but NPS is still trying to determine who has the jurisdiction to turn the lights on so Kenilworth Park is not dark and residents can see and report crime.  NPS and USPP have started locking the Kenilworth Park entrance gate at night, a good first step.

“Our thanks to NPS and USPP for cracking down on crime and ensuring the safety and usability of Shepherd Parkway and Kenilworth Park,” Norton said.  “Prior to our town hall, residents were afraid to go into these parks.  Park Police are opening the Shepherd Parkway reserve to people and closing it to crime.  There are still continuing concerns raised by the community about Kenilworth Park and Shepherd Parkway, but NPS and USPP deserve credit for starting strong.  We’ll keep following up until the parks east of the river give nothing but enjoyment to residents.”

Last month, Norton hosted a well-attended town hall meeting to discuss the federal parkland in the Ward 7 and 8 communities, which includes Shepherd Parkway.  In attendance were NPS Superintendent of National Capital Parks-East, Gopaul Noojibail; the chair of the Shepherd Parkway Committee, Nathan Harrington; and the executive director of Washington Parks & People, Steve Coleman. This was the first of Norton’s town halls to focus on the copious amount of NPS parkland east of the Anacostia River.