Goats help with Blakely Park cleanup

Goats visited Blakely Harbor Park recently, clearing invasive blackberry, ivy and more.

Thanks to a grant from the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation, Tammy Dunakin and her nearly 100 goats helped in the continued restoration of Blakely, once the site of the largest mill in the world.

The park is no stranger to goats. In 2018, a herd cleared out weeds, and it’s now replanted with native vegetation.

Once above-ground vegetation is cleared, the BI Metro Parks & Recreation District’s Student Conservation Corps, volunteers, and contractors, like Seattle-based EarthCorps, will dig up root balls, spread woodchip mulch, and replant with native vegetation.

“Blakely Harbor Park connects protected lands to the north and south, and acts as a keystone for restoration activity on the south end of Bainbridge Island,” said Lydia Roush, the district’s Natural Resource manager. “Removing invasive species at Blakely Harbor Park has far-reaching effects and helps improve habitat, restore ecological function, and build resilience to climate change and sea level rise.”

“Blakely Harbor Park is a special place, sustained by residents joining together to preserve a historical and ecological gem,” said Mary Meier, executive director of the foundation. “The weed-eating goats are an innovative stewardship solution, sustained through donations to the Parks & Trails Foundation.”

Already in 2023, volunteers have contributed more than 500 hours to the park, helping restore native shoreline habitat, connect miles of trails for hikers and welcoming thousands of visitors each year.

For more go to www.biparks.org/volunteers.