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Volunteers chip in at Mount Pisgah to clear invasive species and improve trails

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EUGENE, Ore. — This time of year, there's not much to be done in the yard or the garden.

But there are places around Eugene that are always looking for help. Volunteers at Mount Pisgah Arboretum pitch in every weekend.

With heavy tools in hand, these hard-working volunteers are hitting the trail.

“We have a wide assortment of senior citizens down to college-age students,” Tom LoCascio said. LoCascio is the site manager at the arboretum.

“I like the brute, physical labor of it. It's a good workout,” Bill Montgomery said.

Winter may not bring as many hikers to Mount Pisgah, but workers say it's an ideal time to restore and resurface trails at the popular park.

“We don't do this in the summer, because this'd be too hard,” Montgomery said. “It'd be like busting concrete.”

“Because when water flows down a trail, particularly when you're dealing with a hill like Mount Pisgah, it erodes all of the bark or gravel—in this case—that you put down.

Just about every weekend, you can find a work project happening out at Mount Pisgah. Anyone's welcome to pitch in, but the trail work is just one part of what they do. They also work on clearing out invasive species.

“The best way for us to help enhance those communities is by removing the things that're really spreading out of hand in the wild. For us, it ends up being blackberries and scotch broom,” LoCascio said.

“If you come up here and there are hundreds of different wildflowers in the spring, it's a much more exciting experience,” Montgomery said.

Those wildflowers are still a few months from blooming, but the volunteers spend the weekends, rain or shine, moving heavy rock and sprucing up the path for families to enjoy.

If you'd like to volunteer at Mount Pisgah, it's not all manual labor.  People can also serve as nature guides or assist with office work. Learn more about Mount Pisgah Arboretum