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Caspar Gorse Grubbers Ball and Work Day
Gorse Warriors Called to Caspar
On Saturday, March 4th, Caspar villagers and friends will unite to battle the invasive weed that plagues their town: gorse!
Rain or shine, hardy gorse warriors armed with pulaskis, mcleods, weed wrenches, and other implements of destruction will gather at 11 AM in the parking lot at Jughandle State Reserve to engage Caspar's thorniest problem. Representatives from the California' State Parks Department and other local experts will teach techniques for removal of invasive exotic plants such as gorse. In the morning, they hope to remove young gorse plants from a large area of the Jughandle headlands before breaking for a lunch provided by the Caspar Community. After lunch, the more heroic (or foolhardy) will return to a more stubbornly infested area to remove a few of the large gorse plants that threaten to cover much of the park.
Michael Potts, one of Caspar's gorse organizers, explains "Gorse is not as simple to remove as broom or many other invasive exotics. For a start, it bites back! And we can't just yank it out, because a broken bit of root will grow back. Technique is important, and this work day provides a good way to learn." Potts notes that timing is important: When the ground is soft, gorse is easier to pull. In a month gorse starts producing seeds that are viable for thirty years.
Tommy Brown, a veteran gorse warrior, recommends gorse grubbing gear including light colored pants and socks that cover the pant cuffs (to discourage ticks), stout waterproof shoes and strong gloves. "Gorse thorns are up to three inches long," according to Brown.
In the evening, veterans of the work day will be awarded free admission to the Gorse Grubbers Ball at the Caspar Inn. Of course others are welcome to come and dance to the music of Danny Barca and the Funk Shui Band, but they will be asked to donate. This event is a benefit for the Caspar Community. Music will start at 9:00pm, and admission will be $10 "...or more, if you care to help us out," according to Meridian Green, organizer of the event in 1999.
Billy Schieve, Peter Temple, Peter White, Steve Davidson
click for a larger (72k) version of this image
According to Potts, "We're very pleased that Danny is bringing his new band to Caspar to benefit our work. We love their music." Here are samples of several of their songs, for visitors who have Real AudioTM: "No Separation", "Marionetta", "Monkey in a Man Suit", and "Invisible". The Real Audio plug-in is available for free here.
The Work day and Ball are intended to continue to inspire Caspar residents to continue to rid their lands of this plant pest. A gorse census conducted in the Fall of 1999 showed that gorse has infested one out of every three parcels of land in Caspar, and is spreading north and south.
written by Michael Potts
for publication in the Mendocino Beacon and Fort Bragg Advocate, 2 March 2000
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