Volunteers Remove Harmful Wild Parsnip from West Waterfront Trail

Invasive species can cause burns to skin and fur.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth is asking for your help to rid the area of the invasive species Wild Parsnip.

The plant emits a sap that can cause burns on human skin and pets.

This is not your run of the mill, vegetable parsnip. It looks like any flower.

The Duluth Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, or CISMA, gathered volunteers by the Western Waterfront Trail in Morgan Park to walk the trail and pick parsnips.

According to organizers, it’s important that as many people are aware of how the plant looks, it’s dangers, and how to remove it as it spreads very quickly.

“It’s really important that we do this as a collective that are community is aware of this because, y’know, it’s kind of like Poison Ivy I guess a bit,” said Lori Seele, Duluth CISMA Coordinator.

“It’s something that can affect all of us and it could be a severe problem for our area if it keeps growing.”

When young, the plant resembles a celery. But as it matures, it sprouts yellow, umbrella-like flowers and can grow up to 5 ft tall.

Volunteers were required to wear rubberized gloves, long sleeves, and long pants, so the sap didn’t touch their skin while pulling and digging.

Duluth Stream Corps member Ron Gurno demonstrated how to remove the plant.

“The way to get these out is to get down to the root, and also wear the proper protective gear. And we’re gonna tally them up today and count how many we get out of the ground.”

The group tackled about three miles of the trail.

Experts will have to come back, because the plant can re-grow in a couple of weeks.

Wild Parsnip doesn’t respect property limits, Seele said, so if you find some make sure you identify that it is Wild Parsnip first.

Then, wear the appropriate protection, remove it, and leave it in a plastic bag for the sun to kill.

Two more pull parties will happen Friday and Saturday at 8 a.m. on the lakewalk.

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