Camas Volunteers Fight Ivy at Fallen Leaf Lake

By Shelby Spears

Countless times we have run through the trails of Fallen Leaf Lake, cruising through switchbacks, marveling at the towering trees and soaking up the fresh oxygen. 

Fallen Leaf Lake is a park in Camas, tucked away from crowds and centered with a serene, calming lake. We trail run, we hike and we adore this precious spot of nature just out our backdoor. But Saturday was a whole new experience. My eyes were opened wide as we went to the lake to volunteer for the Camas Ivy League and Camas Parks and Recreation volunteer ivy pull event. 

I knew about invasive ivy and was excited for the opportunity to give back to the trails that give us so much joy.

Ivy is an invasive species in the Pacific Northwest that can can wreak havoc on our native plants. 

"As a vine, it can completely engulf shrubs and encircles tree trunks of all sizes, leaving nothing uncovered," according to the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Shrubs shrouded in ivy may eventually die because light can't reach their leaves. The sheer weight of the extra vegetation also weakens the plant it grows on, making it more susceptible to disease and blowdown." 

I knew some of this but I had no idea just how oblivious I was to the invasive weed. My eyes were opened wide. Once you start to look for it, ivy is everywhere, blanketing the ground and strangling the trees. 

Some of the ivy was so thick we had to saw it off! We clipped and pulled and finally exposed the bark. Some trees were big, some were small but they were all covered in the unwelcome ivy. It felt amazing to give the trees space and I look forward for the next opportunity to do it again.

Now I doubt I'll be able to trot down a trail without the urge to rip away the ivy.