Washougal asks for volunteers to maintain community parks

Volunteers will help maintain and clean Mable Kerr Park as well as plant trees

WASHOUGAL — The Washougal Parks Board of Commissioners is looking for volunteers to assemble teams of people who will maintain and clean community parks.

Focusing predominantly on Mable Kerr Park in east Washougal, volunteer teams will pull ivy, plant trees and clean the natural areas of trash and litter. Invasive plants like the ivy and Himilayan blackberry need around the clock attention.

Mable Kerr Park in east Washougal will complete its restoration with the efforts of volunteers over the summer. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Mable Kerr Park in east Washougal will complete its restoration with the efforts of volunteers over the summer. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“We can’t do it alone,” said Suzanne Grover, the parks and cemetery program manager for Washougal. “Volunteerism, particularly with ivy pulling, raises awareness of the destructive nature of ivy and assists in residents making wise choices when they go to plant their own yards.”

With the next day of service being on June 1, teams will work about one Saturday a month over the summer, and will then will finish off with tree planting in November.

Trails at Mable Kerr Park can often be in need of ivy pulling and black berry bush trimming. Volunteers will help in both these areas. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Trails at Mable Kerr Park can often be in need of ivy pulling and black berry bush trimming. Volunteers will help in both these areas. Photo by Jacob Granneman

The board had, in the past, promoted at least one day of service a year, but for 2019, felt they should up their volunteer efforts for community parks in need of attention.

“I feel like people do, actually want to volunteer,” Grover said. “When we’ve had volunteer service in the past, we may not have gotten the word out enough and we received feedback that people would have wanted to volunteer, had they known.”  

Nearly all 14-acres of Mable Kerr Park entered ongoing restoration in 2007, and this, Grover says, is the last stage of that restoration, but routine maintenance will still continue.

Removing much of the existing ivy and black berries, followed by planting new large species trees, will hopefully eradicate most of them. This is due to the shade from those trees which will starve the plants of sunlight.

In November, volunteers will plant new trees to help stop the spread of the English Ivy inside Mable Kerr Park. Photo by Jacob Granneman
In November, volunteers will plant new trees to help stop the spread of the English Ivy inside Mable Kerr Park. Photo by Jacob Granneman

Once the park is fully restored, the board plans to approve volunteer teams for other parks in the area needing cleanup efforts.

All events are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the days posted, which can be found here. The city will provide the clippers, rakes and tarps for pulling ivy, but volunteers should bring their own gloves and wear long pants and long sleeves. The city will also provide water and snacks for all volunteers. Volunteers must sign a waiver with the city.

“I’m optimistic that someday, we’ll have a really strong volunteer force that wants to get out there in the parks,” Grover said. “We are certainly trying to have volunteer opportunities available for Washougal residents.”

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About The Author

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a recent graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and in Argentina. His passions range from loving people, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA.

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