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Volunteers help fight noxious weeds

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Noxious weeds threaten the well-being of native species of plants throughout the Montana wilderness. Beartooth NBC’s Ryan Whalen shows us how a group of local volunteers are using their expertise to help the forest service fight this issue.

Members of the Capital Trail Vehicle Association are four-wheeling enthusiasts who enjoy taking advantage of Montana’s national forest land. Friday, they're helping the forest service keep the trails serviceable.

"We try to get involved so that we can keep some of these trails open to the public and to make it safe and also not to spread any noxious weeds,” says volunteer Richard Felstet.

The forest service is spraying noxious weeds, but these four-wheelers are doing the heavy lifting. They're carrying water and chemicals back and forth to help cover as much ground as they can in a day that might otherwise take a week.

"For us to go back to the truck and refill every time versus just where we're out of chemical we can mix right there, it's incredible,” says volunteer Jay Winfield.

The focus of the spraying here today is along this trail system. Seeds from noxious weeds often get spread by the traffic along these trails.

"You eliminate that noxious weeds as a competitor to desirable plants and we're all striving for native desirable species out on public ground,” says Winfield.

For the trail riders it's important to keep this land healthy, not just for them but for anyone who wants to enjoy it.

"I think it's a worthy cause. I think it's nice to be able to get out and for the people to be able to see some of this country that they would never have a chance to,” says Felstat.

Being able to spend all day on their vehicles is just an added bonus. The volunteers work these trails all year long, including cleaning up brush in the spring.


Story by Ryan Whalen, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2011 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Jay Winfield, Richard Felstet, Capital Trail Vehicle Association

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