Grassy Ridge Mow-Off Day

Two days of non-stop weedeating on top of a grassy bald in the Roan Highlands. Sounds like paradise, right? It was. The awesome crew at the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy organizes this volunteer event each summer, and this year I added my name to the list. This free adventure package included a hike along the Appalachian Trail up to Grassy Ridge (located right along the North Carolina and Tennessee border), two days of whacking invasive blackberry weeds, a stellar campsite and delicious pot luck pasta supper, and a very cool group of people to hang with. The reason why us humans are up there taming the weeds is that there aren’t any animals around to do it any more. Way back in the day it may have been vegan dinosaurs, then it was native bison (until we extincted them), and more recently cows, sheep and/or goats. Various methods of grazing are being tested today to keep the desired grasses growing abundantly versus the invasive plants, and in meantime humans need to pick up the slack. Personally, I enjoy any chance to work like a goat or sheep…or better yet, a native bison. Many thanks to the team at SAHC, and they took these sweet pics.