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Dave Williams, Operations and Development Director, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, 812.349.3706 or williamd@bloomington.in.gov

Bloomington Rail Trail Closed March 12-16 for Invasive Species Removal

Bloomington, Ind.-The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will close the Bloomington Rail Trail between Country Club Drive and Rhorer Road March 12 through 16 for a large-scale invasive plant removal project.

Staff from the Department and from Eco Logic next week will remove about six acres of invasive plants from either side of the Rail Trail using a compact rubber tracked loader with a Fecon forestry mowing attachment. According to city landscaper Joanna Sparks, the Department is primarily targeting invasive Asian bush honeysuckle and purple wintercreeper, which are well established along the Rail Trail.

"Our primary focus is safety for all trail users," Sparks said. "Removing this dense vegetation will not only allow native species to become established, but will also improve sight lines and visibility on this part of the trail."

Sparks said future plans call for planting and seeding native woodland flowering plants and grasses. The work crew will preserve as many healthy, native trees as possible. Department staff will use herbicide in an ongoing maintenance program, following established Integrated Pest Management protocols governing the use of chemicals, to continue the control of invasive plant species. No herbicides will be used the week of March 12.

"Bloomington's trails provide wonderful opportunities for our residents and visitors to get out, move, and enjoy nature. Our dedicated Parks staff needs some time to make sure those trails are the best they can be," said Mayor John Hamilton. "We are proud of the efforts Parks and Recreation is making in parks and along trails across the city to remove invasives and restore native plant communities."

Staff will be stationed at both north and south ends of the Rail Trail during the project to redirect trail users and ensure visitor safety. The trailhead at Country Club Road will also temporarily close, until the City Utilities Department sewer project in the area is complete.

For more information about the invasive species removal project, or the temporary closure of the Rail Trail and the trailhead at Country Club Road, contact Dave Williams, Operations and Development Director, at 812.349.3706.

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