Bamboo – and lots of it – was on the chopping block for Earth Day on the Atlanta BeltLine 2014! Over 60 volunteers ignored the gloomy forecast and came out to the interim hiking trail north of the Eastside Trail early Saturday morning, April 19, 2014. After meeting in the parking lot of Park Tavern overlooking Piedmont Park, volunteers divided into three teams to tackle a huge grove of bamboo. The invasive species long ago took root along the interim hiking trail just north of Park Drive and spread to encompass quite a significant area. In order to ensure visibilty and preservation of native species, the goal of this year’s Earth Day was to remove as much bamboo as possible.
One group of volunteers set to work cutting the long poles – sometimes up to 25 feet in length – and piling them on the trail. Another set of volunteers dragged them to the northern end of the Park Tavern parking lot where a third set of volunteers chopped up the stalks to fit in the dumpster.
As the first group felled stalk after stalk of bamboo with hand-held saws, team leaders came behind them and treated the small stumps to prevent them from growing back. After two hours, the grove of bamboo shrunk, the piles on the trail grew, and volunteers began to shift jobs to hauling bamboo. By the end, all volunteers were back in the parking lot next to the dumpster, pitching in to get every last stem cut and piled up for removal. The overnight rains coupled with so many feet on the ground resulted in some very muddy volunteers and piles of bamboo!
Not all of the bamboo ended up on the scrap heap, though. While Zoo Atlanta’s panda population is too picky for this particular variety, local artists jumped at the opportunity to use bamboo in their work. Gavin Bernard of the duo Grafite was on hand to pile up dozens of full-length bamboo poles for a temporary art installation his company will be executing in the new Krog Street Market when it opens. You can read more about it in the upcoming edition of The Loop – our quarterly newsletter with insider content specially for our Atlanta BeltLine members.
Foot traffic continues to increase along this stretch of the interim hiking trail with numbers averaging almost 2,000 people per week in the first quarter of 2014. Removing this bamboo enhances the experience of Atlanta BeltLine users and emphasizes the natural beauty of this stretch of trail.
Check out the full photo gallery of Earth Day on the Atlanta BeltLine 2014. This event is a proud tradition that started in 2008. A huge thanks goes to the volunteers along with our organizers and supporters: Keep Atlanta Beautiful; Trees Atlanta; Park Pride; Atlanta Community ToolBank; Alex Wan, Councilmember for District 6, who provided breakfast; KIND Bars, who provided nutritional granola bars for volunteers; and the Department of Public Works, who provided a dumpster and removal services. And, of course, a special thanks goes out to our Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine groups that work tirelessly year-round to keep the Atlanta BeltLine beautiful!