Mule train helping battling noxious weeds in Butte's Maud S Cany - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Mule train helping battling noxious weeds in Butte's Maud S Canyon Trail

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BUTTE -

This week, a mule pack train is helping battle the noxious weeds on the beloved Maud S Canyon Trail on the East Ridge.

So the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest Service is partnering with the East Ridge Foundation, Backcountry Horsemen and AmeriCorps Saint Louis Response Team each year to spray the weeds with pesticides.

Seven mules and one horse carried 280 gallons of water up the trails to combine with the pesticides to conduct the spraying. The spraying will take about a day and a half, organizers say.

Recreation Forester Jocelyn Dodge said, "We want to preserve the native vegetation here and also for the enjoyment of people to see the native vegetation we have."

Knapweed is extremely prevalent plant in the canyon, and each year the forest managers spray 30-40 acres. They say the purpose of the spraying is to make sure weeds don't get into the trails, and to prevent seeds from spreading.

"Without the help of the Backcountry Horsemen, this project would be much slower in our progress in being able to control noxious weeds," Dodge said. 

AmeriCorps volunteers came all the way from Saint Louis to help out.

Wren Wells with the AmeriCorps Saint Louis Response Team said they come up every summer to load the mules and fill up the water tank.

"We help out in the Madison, Butte and Dillon districts."

Hikers with allergies may feel some relief after spraying, since Dodge says knapweed is a common allergen.

With help from partnerships, the spraying costs $5,000-$10,000 annually.

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