American River canyon cleanup targets pesky plant

It’s not just litter that volunteers will be scouring the American River canyon for during Saturday’s American River Clean-up.

As well as taking out the trash, Protect AmericanRiver Canyons and its partners will be targeting invasive broom – a plant that board member Eric Peach said is disturbingly on the increase in the Auburn State Recreation Area and threatening to choke off trails.

Clippers and pruners will be provided to participants willing to wade into the dense growth on the branches of the invasive weed. The broom that is cut will be removed and burned.

“Once it gets established, it’s almost like star thistle,” Peach said. “You can’t get rid of it.”

April is a good time of year to reduce the broom footprint because its trademark yellow blooms haven’t appeared and its not seeding, he said.

The cleanup starts with 8 a.m. registration at the confluence information booth. From there volunteers will fan out to areas throughout the recreation area to clean up litter and chop away broom.

 “Being close to the American River and canyons – having wild nature so close by – is why many of us live in the foothills,” Peach said. “One of the easiest way to express our appreciation for the AmericanRiver is to keep the river and canyons clean and safe for all wildlife and people.”

By 9 a.m., the educational component of the Earth-Day related event will start, with a hike and lecture by Perry Cook and Charlene Carveth on canyon bridges and wildflowers. Colfax watercolor artist Juan Pena will be offering a painting demonstration and tips on capturing the canyon on canvas starting at 9 a.m. and lasting throughout the morning.

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