A Call to Action to Protect Hidden Valley
by Doris Sherrick

Sunday, September 21 was a perfect day to spend a couple of hours enjoying the beauty and solitude of Hidden Valley Natural Area. A small group of dedicated honeysuckle whackers not only enjoyed the beauty of Hidden Valley that day but also took great delight in whacking the invasive devil plant, bush honeysuckle, that is such a threat to that lovely place.

For those who may not know, bush honeysuckle was introduced into this country from Asia beginning in the late 1800s to be used as an ornamental in lawns. But, because it produces large quantities of fruit that are eaten and, therefore, distributed by birds, this plant did not remain in the lawns where it was planted but spread into many other habitats. Bush honeysuckle leafs out earlier in spring and retains its leaves longer than the other plants. This means that the sunlight the early spring flowering plants must have does not reach the forest floor and, as a result, they simply die out.

Paul Schultz, North Face manager, accompanied by three employees and two Sierrans, Bob and Doris Sherrick, felt a good deal of satisfaction viewing the results of their attack on the honeysuckle at the end of their whacking session. It is amazing how much honeysuckle can be eliminated by six people in two-three hours!

Considering this, we speculated about the possibility of making a HUGE difference in the honeysuckle population in Hidden Valley Natural Area if a couple of groups of six-ten people committed to working a two-three hour session once each month, September through March.

This idea lead to a goal for Paul Schultz and Bob and Doris Sherrick to see if they can get such teams of honeysuckle whackers that will be committed to protecting the natural beauty—such as the ladies’ tresses in the photo—and biodiversity in Hidden Valley Natural Area.

Paul will work at the North Face store to get commitments from interested employees and customers and Bob and Doris are asking any THB members who have two-three hours to contribute once each month to step forward and make a differance. It is also important to have additional leaders available to lead the honeysuckle whacking teams. So, please let us know if you are willing and available to lead a small group.

By acting aggressively now with enough committed people, we can surely reverse the impact the honeysuckle is having on Hidden Valley Natural Area. It really is up to us to protect this unique and beautiful area so the jack-in-the-pulpits, dutchman’s breeches, green dragons, the many fern varieties and others will be there to delight our children…to the seventh generation.

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and let us know your availability.