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Work underway to clear invasive plants from Lake Sammamish State Park

Blackberries and other invasive species choke out native plants like trees which are vital to salmon.

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — On the first official day of summer, volunteers headed to Lake Sammamish State Park to pitch in for a vital conservation effort: getting rid of invasive plants. 

Invasive species like blackberries, in particular, can choke out native plants like trees which are vital for other species like salmon. The project is part of a 17-year-long effort to restore Issaquah Creek where salmon spend part of their life cycle.

"Those trees provide shade and cover to keep the creek cool which is really important for our native salmon," said Operations Manager for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust Tor Bell. "Many of the tall timbers you see along the creek today were planted by volunteers decades ago."

Conservation work took a brief pause during the beginning stages of the pandemic, but volunteers with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust were eager to get get back to work. 

"It’s great to have a group of volunteers taking action and caring for the land again,” Bell said. 

Currently, over 60 acres of Lake Sammamish State Park are under restoration. Over 100 acres of the state park were filled with invasive plants like blackberries before the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust started working to restore it. 

The Mountains to Sounds Greenway Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to steward the 1.5-million-acre landscape that stretches from Seattle to Ellensburg along the I-90 corridor. 

The organization works to conserve and restore natural lands and wildlife habitats as well as building and maintaining sustainable trails. FedEx helped to deliver a much-needed financial shot in the arm through the FedEx Cares program. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation partnered with FedEx for a grant program aimed at protecting and restoring plants, fish, wildlife and habitats nationwide. 

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust is one of just 14 nonprofits chosen to receive support in 2022.

To support Mountain to Sound Greenway Trust and learn about upcoming efforts, take a look at their website.


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