If you're planning to be in Theodore Roosevelt National Park on Monday, you might want to keep an eye out for aerial weed-spraying operations.
Crews will be spraying a herbicide to control leafy spurge and Canada thistle. Spraying will continue, weather permitting, until 1,400 acres have been treated. Spraying operations will take place in both the North and South Units of the park.
Leafy spurge and Canada thistle are non-native, highly invasive, state-listed noxious weeds which, left untreated, would increase and interfere with the natural ecology of the park. They could also spread to land adjacent to the park.
The National Park Service has contracted with an experienced helicopter company to do the application. Aerial spraying is the preferred method for applying herbicide to large areas and previous helicopter applications in the park have been very successful. The herbicide which will be used for the project has been proven to be effective against both leafy spurge and Canada thistle while not harming native vegetation or wildlife.
No portion of the park will be closed during the spraying operations. However, visitors should avoid areas that are actively being sprayed or that have recently been sprayed.
“Some visitors may find the low-flying helicopter to be an intrusion,” said Superintendent Valerie Naylor. “We never want to intrude upon the visitors’ enjoyment of the park, even for a day. However, the need to control leafy spurge and Canada thistle and their impact on the park’s native vegetation makes this short-term inconvenience a necessity.”
Visitors who have questions about the aerial spraying should contact the park at 701-623-4466.