Pictured are the three priority areas at Idlewild Park that will be grazing grounds for Vahana Nature Rehabilitation goats in the coming days. (City of Cranbrook file)

Grazing goats coming to Idlewild Park this week

Vahana Nature Rehabilitation, Columbia Outdoor School partnering to tackle invasive weeds

  • May. 17, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Goat grazing will be taking place at Idlewild Park in Cranbrook this week to help manage invasive plants in the area.

Vahana Nature Rehabilitation and the Columbia Outdoor School have teamed up to have the goats target three priority areas around Idlewild.

Goat grazing is an all natural alternative to chemical and mechanical removal of weeds. The City of Cranbrook says that the initial focus will be on “Priority Zone Two” – located between the new wetland area and the lake.

The goats will begin grazing on Thursday, May 20th.

Cailey Chase, owner of Vahana Nature Rehabilitation says that goat grazing is a new, ancient technology.

“Goats have been used for centuries to help reduce unwanted vegetation in cities,” said Chase. “We see this as an opportunity for Cranbrook to use the eco-friendly, nature friendly goat grazing to reduce vegetation around our precious water sources that are nurseries to so many foundational parts of nature.”

The City asks that users of the park watch for signage and the entrances while goats are on site.

“Dogs must be on a leash and under control at Idlewild and all city green spaces, other than the Muriel Baxter Dog Park,” said the City in a press release. “Avoiding these priority areas at Idlewild Park altogether with your dog during this project is strongly recommended.”

This project at Idlewild could become part of a larger, longer-term project, explained the City, based on the results of these treatments. This project is also part of the invasive plant management strategy for Joseph Creek that has been ongoing with the Columbia Outdoor School for some time now.

“The spread of invasive weeds can seriously affect habitat. Establishing the plan and testing effective removal techniques will help to determine the best methods for removal throughout the creek,” said Todd Hebert, Executive Director of Columbia Outdoor School. “Not only are the goats an effective removal technique, but they are pretty darn cute too.”

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