The overcast skies that hovered over our Atlanta BeltLine Earth Day activities held a silver lining: they kept the rain and sun at bay throughout the morning, allowing volunteers to tackle major projects along the Eastside Trail. One group worked with Trees Atlanta staff and volunteers on a forest restoration project near Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark on the Eastside Trail. Folks mulched previously planted trees, shrubs, and perennials in order to control and prevent weeds and help regulate soil moisture.
On-going volunteer efforts like this one support our shared goal with Trees Atlanta: to establish, grow, and continually improve the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. Planting hundreds of large trees and tens of thousands of native grass plugs has created natural habitats over 30 acres along the Eastside Trail. Trees Atlanta tackles the upkeep and expansion of these acres daily with the help of wonderful volunteers! And this is just the beginning. You can expect to see the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum stretch for 22 miles as we continue to build the multi-use trail and streetcar.
Want to learn more about the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum? We have a walking tour for that! You can sign up to see the flora and fauna up close and in person every Friday and Saturday morning with the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum Walking Tour.
Further along the Eastside Trail, on the northernmost point of the unpaved, interim hiking trail, volunteers gathered behind Ansley Mall to tackle an invasive bamboo grove. With the popularity of the Eastside Trail, this stretch of interim hiking trail is getting more and more use. We want to improve trail users’ experience as they utilize the Atlanta BeltLine to connect between Ansley Mall, Piedmont Park and surrounding amenities. Additionally, removing invasive plant species increases the area available for native plants to grow, helping to support the local wildlife food web.
Volunteers worked three different jobs: chopping down bamboo, hauling it back to the dumpster, and cutting it up to fit in the dumpster. With bamboo poles upwards of 15 feet long, it can require careful negotiating to slice and transport. The remaining bamboo stalks were sprayed to prevent regrowth from the roots.
In answer to the burning question of pandas: we check with Zoo Atlanta when we remove bamboo, but have yet to offer up a species that piques the pandas’ interest. But we’ll keep asking to see if we can one day supply the pandas with Atlanta BeltLine bamboo!
Want to check out these areas for yourself? See our trail map here or download our smartphone app from the Apple app store or Google Play to see how exactly to get out on the Atlanta BeltLine! Just look for the Eastside Trail by Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark and Ansley Mall.