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Sunrise Carriage Trail to go herbicide-free

Chris Dorst
Volunteers on the Sunrise Carriage Trail in Charleston will eschew pesticides and herbicides to keep the trail clear next spring.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- People who walk the Sunrise Carriage Trail in Charleston might notice a bit more activity in the area next spring, because Carriage Trail Committee members decided this week to implement a pesticide-free approach to ridding the trail of weeds.

The decision was made during a meeting Wednesday, at the suggestion of committee member Nancy Ward.

"A lot of cities are trying to avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides in parks," said Ward, who suggested the trail be used as a pilot project for the city.

Citing information from the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, Ward said many of the issues with pesticides are not from direct contact with treated plants but when pesticides are brought into the home on shoes or by pets.

"Studies keep coming out with new information that [the use of pesticides and herbicides] is not as benign as they thought," Ward said.

Committee members were willing to give Ward's idea a shot.

"It's certainly not much of a commitment to set Nancy free with this," said City Councilman Courtney Persinger, the Carriage Trail Committee's chairman, just before the committee approved the measure.

Ward, who has volunteered on the trail for about 10 years, said the trail should be fairly easy to maintain without chemicals.

"It's as easy to pull as it is to spray," Ward said. "Anytime we can avoid chemicals, the better off we are."

Ward said she would organize volunteer groups to pull weeds within so many feet of the trail beginning in 2014. For more information, contact her at naward57@gmail.com.

Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.molenda@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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