Hands On Work at the Woodstock Community Riverfront Park

By Sally Miller

This Saturday will be the fourth annual clean-up day at the East End Park. This past winter was the last time that the Village will be dumping snow in that location, so piles of muck and road debris will be a thing of the past as volunteers gather to do one final clean up.

What started in 2010 as an effort to help revitalize the East End, the park is finally becoming a reality. Despite damage from TS Irene and snow dump move delays and challenges the East End Action Group (EEAG) is achieving their goal of providing a community asset and completing a historic transformation from a long-neglected blemish on Woodstock’s landscape, once known as the Jungle, into a viable public and recreational property.

Volunteers work in the riparian buffer during a 2016 workday at the East End.

Volunteers work in the riparian buffer during a 2016 workday at the East End.

This weekend we will be cleaning up debris left from the final snow dump, planting daylilies, cutting knotweed, and preparing an area for a new permaculture garden. All participants should wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves and garden tools (shovels, rakes, hoes, cobras, spades – remember to label them) and if you can – a wheel barrel. Day lilies are also welcome if you have “extra”!

Ongoing work at the park includes control of invasives like Japanese Knotweed and Wild Parsnip. Over the years we have tried several methods of control including chemical drips, cutting and digging. Derek DeMas, our Knotweed Captain, has a dedicated crew that has been persistent about tackling these weeds, but it’s a long process. This year we will be covering cut areas with black tarps in an effort to smother the plants.

We will continue to work in the riparian buffer by planting new materials to help to stabilize the river bank and provide shade for the river. These buffers play a key role in increasing water quality in the adjacent river thus providing environmental benefits. We will also be cleaning and planting in the established rain gardens which help remove silt and other runoff from the river.

This year our educational table will have information on the invasives found in the park and what to do about them. We will also have information about ticks and Lyme disease. All work day participants are encouraged to wear long pants and insect repellent.

Following our successful Park Planning Pizza Party meeting in February the EEAG incorporated design ideas into a revised plan, and Jack Rossi, Landscape Architect, has prepared a new, final version of the park design which specifies details of the park including river access, the lawn and the sloped banks; it outlines plantings, furniture and other improvements. Included in the new plan are a small amphitheater, picnic areas, walking paths and a permaculture garden.

Building the park will take several years, and we want it to be a community effort. Fundraising for large scale items such as an amphitheater will start this summer. If you want to join our fun and fundraising group please give us a call. (And save the date for an East End Celebration on Saturday, August 5.) This Saturday’s clean-up day will help make the area attractive and ready for use but will also prepare the site for further improvements.

In addition to the Village of Woodstock, support for the park project has come from local organizations and businesses, including the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Woodstock Garden Club’s grants and donations of plants and labor, Chippers and Bartlett Tree Experts who helped with invasive removal and lawn maintenance, and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corp who planted the riparian buffer and raingardens. Over the years we have received hundreds of hours of volunteer labor from dozens of individuals. This is truly a community effort.

Everyone is welcome to help at the clean-up day. Join us at Maxham Meadow Way from 9:00am to 12:00pm. For questions call 457-2911 or email eastend@sustainablewoodstock.org.

How Can You Help?
Volunteer Your Time:

  • Join us on June 17 for a river clean-up day
  • Help remove invasives – Join the knotweed crew or tackle wild parsnip
  • Join our fun and fundraising group to plan ongoing activities
  • Lend us your expertise – Gardening, irrigation systems, plantings, your specialty

Just Do One Thing
Join us at The East End Park this Saturday, June 17

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