Weed Watchers

Hikers

Wilderness Weed Watchers Program

Help protect the wilderness while hiking this summer!

Invasive non-native plants are a major threat to biodiversity in our National Forests. Without early detection and eradication, weeds like yellow archangel, orange hawkweed or Himalayan blackberry can quickly crowd native species. Uncontrolled, weeds like oxeye daisy can monopolize alpine meadows, English ivy will cover forest canopies and Japanese knotweed will choke creek-side vegetation. You can help detect and prevent major invasive plant infestations while enjoying hikes in Washington’s incredible wilderness areas.

The Wilderness Weed Watchers Program trains volunteers to identify, map and control invasive species along backcountry trails and campsites. Volunteers gain skills in plant identification, enjoy scenic hikes and contribute important data to the U.S. Forest Service. During the 2013 and 2014 field seasons (generally late June-early October), volunteers will focus survey efforts on trails in the Mt. Baker, Noisy-Diosbud, Boulder River, William O., Clearwater and Norse Peak Wilderness Areas, spanning from the northern reaches of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to the southern terminus of the forest near Mt. Rainier National Park. See map of survey areas.

In a nutshell, here is how the program works:

  • Sign up for a volunteer training
  • Go on at least two survey hikes in a targeted wilderness area (volunteers hike independently or in small groups)
  • Collect data on invasive and non-native species with survey form and GPS unit (eradication encouraged but optional)
  • Submit data online, share photos of known invasive or suspicious plants

Qualifications

A general familiarity of native flora of the Northwest is especially helpful, as volunteers are provided only very basic training in invasive species recognition. Weed surveys require hiking in remote areas -- volunteers should be physically fit and prepared for independent wilderness travel, navigation and survival. GPS units are loaned to volunteers who need them; no prior experience is required.

How do I get involved?

Interested volunteers should register for an upcoming Weed Watchers training. Weed Watchers will learn to identify invasive species of concern, record and collect data with GPS units, and control weeds when appropriate. After the training, Weed Watchers “adopt” trails to survey during the 2013 field season--volunteers can choose from short day hikes or overnight outings. Weed Watchers submit their data after each survey. GPS units are available for check-out.

Wilderness Weed Watchers Trainings

Our spring sessions are complete and we currently do not have additional trainings scheduled. Please contact conservation@mountaineers.org to find out how you can get involved.

The Wilderness Weed Watchers Program is a partnership between The Mountaineers, Snohomish County Department of Public Works, King County’s Noxious Weed Program and the U.S. Forest Service. This project is made possible by support from the National Forest Foundation. For more about the Alpine Lakes Weed Watchers Program, contact Katherine Hollis, Conservation and Responsible Recreation Manager for The Mountaineers, at (206) 521-6012 or katherineh@mountaineers.org.

Wilderness Weed Watchers Volunteer Resources

Please see our online archive to download volunteer guides, survey forms, checklists and trail lists.

Submit a survey report.


View Weed Watchers Photo Log