One of the nicest things about my work at Camp Salmen is helping to make the park more enjoyable for people to visit. First off, it’s already such a beautiful place to visit because of the nature of the land and the way it’s been developed and managed (or simply left alone). As a matter of course, we try to keep it looking good; picking up the litter, cutting the grass and such. Additionally, we’ve been able to add new features like the trails, tree plantings, the playground, the soon to open amphitheater and plan on adding much more. We recently added another by simply clearing some brush.
Along part of the Bayou Liberty Trail, behind the flagpole, was a bunch of dead Chinese Privet. I killed it a year or so ago because it is an aggressive invasive species, does not belong here, shuts out plants that do and had taken over this part of the park. We decided to remove it by attacking it with saws and long-handled loppers.
It was a good afternoon’s work, cutting the brush off as close to the ground as we could and piling it up at the base of a big oak tree buried in the clutter. On the left hand side of the clearing that emerged was a previously hidden marsh full of Louisiana iris in springtime bloom. It was a beautiful spot and would be a delightful discovery for anyone hiking on our trails.
The next week we decided to break out the big guns to do more clearing. Our Bobcat machine is like a giant Swiss Army knife with lots attachments and we mounted one that made quick work of what would have taken several days, if not weeks of arduous hand clearing. In an afternoon we had a brand new part of the park – complete with a marsh, several huge Live Oak trees, an overlook on Bayou Liberty that is practically a cliff-side view plus possible space for a picnic pavilion. I call it “The Oak Grove.”
Check it out next time you pay a visit to the park. It is still a little rough, so be careful where you step. I’m know you’ll love it.