ST. HELENS — Scappoose Boy Scout Troop 342 helped put in native plants at Nob Hill Nature Park in St. Helens this month.
Coordinated by Chas McCoy of Scappoose Bay Watershed Council, the planting day on Nov. 6 resulted in the addition of more than 200 new plants to fill areas that had been left open by blackberry removal.
Some of the new plants include service berry, red-flowering currant and bitter cherry.
The Scouts' help at the planting work party came about after Scout Will White talked with McCoy at the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival in September.
White asked about a service project he could do toward earning the rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest level of achievement available in Scouting.
McCoy suggested the November volunteer work party. The Scouts helped get the job done under Will's leadership.
McCoy has already led a crew of young adults to do other work at the park, including removal of trash, ivy and blackberries.
Most recently, McCoy and his workers managed to remove an old culvert that was largely covered by dirt and debris.
It was an ambitious undertaking, but they did it, leaving a pile of twisted metal the size of a pickup truck for the city to haul away.
Along with the foot bridge provided by funds from an Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board grant, and three signs provided by the city to mark each of the three park entrances (at the end of South Third, South Fourth and on Plymouth, across from the sewage treatment plant), the nature park is in better shape than ever.
Removal of invasive plants is now the top, ongoing maintenance job.
The Scappoose Bay Watershed Council has supported Nob Hill Nature Park in its major improvements during the last two years. While the group is now wrapping up its involvement at this location, McCoy plans to continue to join the semi-annual work parties.
The next one will be held on the first Saturday in April 2011.
The park continues to battle English ivy that chokes out other plants. In spite of that, next spring there should be another impressive display of flowering native plants including trillium, camas and fawn lilies. For now, they lie dormant under a carpet of oak leaves.
The park is open dawn to dusk daily. It makes a great, local destination for easy walks in fall and winter.
And watch for the next Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park volunteer work party next spring.