Friday 5 August
Those giant hogweeds have their heads in the clouds
Today was especially exciting for the crew. Through a working partnership between the District of North Vancouver (DNV) and the Grouse Mountain Resort (GMR), we were whisked up, up and away in the service gondola to work on a reported infestation of giant hogweeds on the Skyline Drive trail. There was some skepticism since it was generally understood that giant hogweeds do not grow so high up (around 3000’ or 1000m above sea level) and survive under 30’ snow packs. But once on site, courtesy of a ride on a GMR truck, we found the giant hogweeds very quickly and got busy with stem-injecting or direct application to giant hogweeds growing around the uppermost part of the Skyline hiking trail, just below the chairlift. A few deer watched us as we worked, seemingly unconcerned by our presence even if we did look a bit strange in our white suits with face shields. It was extremely hard work, on steep, rocky and uneven terrain with dense underbrush, in warm sunshine above the clouds that for most of the time obscured Vancouver from view. A few trail hikers passed by and, after enquiring what we were doing, congratulated the crew on the good work. While working on site our DNV liaison got chatting to one of the year-round staff who told him about a second giant hogweed location further upslope at the mid-station. So after the crew tackled the 200-odd giant hogweed plants along the trail we were collected by our friendly GMR truck driver and taken up the mountain to the mid-station. Sure enough, lurking in the bush at the side of the slope were another 20 or so maturing giant hogweed plants. We checked a bit further upslope in case there was another hogweed infestation higher up, but we found no more hogweeds above mid-station. Soon after we all headed back to the gondola and the base of the mountain and after a brief wait at the bottom, we were reunited with all our gear that followed us in another gondola. Another good day spent at the office.
Dealing with infestations in the upper reaches of the Mosquito and Mackay watersheds is a DNV strategy for waterborne invasive plants, and the DNV were very pleased to work in partnership with GMR today.