Picturesque landscapes are in no short supply here in Alaska. Pretty much everywhere I turn, there is a mountain, pond or lake waiting to be admired. But my recent visit to San Juan Bay in Montague Island was especially beautiful, because I felt like I was back home in California.
The trip out to San Juan Bay kept getting pushed back due to inclement weather, but then the sun appeared through a break in the clouds one day, and the temperature shot up to the 70s. Being from Los Angeles, I’m quite comfortable with rising temperatures, but I did not expect this from Alaska. However, it was perfect because it finally meant we were airborne.
I got to join Danielle Verna, the Invasive Weeds Coordinator from the Copper River Watershed Project and Ken Hodges from the Fish Crew at the Forest Service on their projects. Danielle’s purpose was to go out to San Juan Bay to survey how the old logging road affected the growth of dandelions and then to eradicate them. That’s also the main reason I was there. Now normally, pulling dandelions isn’t the most glamorous or adventurous thing in the world, but getting to do it amongst this scenery was alright with me. It was a very labor–intensive and time-consuming process. Once they seed, dandelions can spread very easily. Just the slightest brush up against them is enough to disperse the seeds everywhere, and that’s exactly where they go. Everywhere.
We spent hours pulling up dandelions by a trail head, which was only about 25 meters then spent the rest of the day hiking across the beach and onto the old logging road to survey the damage there. We were not surprised to find large sections of dandelions growing in and around the road. We dug out as much as we could for the day and then burned all the dandelions we pulled out, but there still remains a section of dandelions left. The dandelions may have one this battle, but Danielle is set to return later this summer to win the war.