Invasives out, natives in at the Canyon

Gary Fie mending pop-up bags. Photo by Murray Schneider

By Murray Schneider, Glen Park News

On a day that hit 80 degrees, volunteer Gary Fie, fighting a head cold, still found a way to contribute to the May 4th Friends of Glen Canyon Park work party. A 46-year veteran of the United States Merchant Marines, Fie spent several hours sewing together torn Recreation and Parks pop-up bags that other canyon volunteers later used to carry extricated ferns for replanting and invasive thistle for composting.
Using sail twine and utilizing a running stitch he learned while plying Pacific waters, Fie deftly maneuvered a palm needle through the thick material. Purchased years before at a ship’s chandlery, Fie’s maritime materials didn’t seem out of place among Friend’s shovels and mattocks. Fie, who lives directly across from Glen Canyon, volunteers three hours each Wednesday with his wife, Georgia.
The yellow pop-up bags are difficult to find, according to Rec and Park gardeners, so Fie’s mending efforts didn’t go unnoticed or under-appreciated by park officials.
Gardener Randy Zebell, who used one of Fie’s repaired bags to carry unearthed invasive Ehrharta grass, looked knowingly at the “almost” new container.
“Its important to not let this grass get a toehold in the Canyon,” Zebell said.
The perennial weed, originating from southern Africa, left to its own devices, can smother canyon California native plants.
Due to the efforts of both volunteer Fie and city employee Zabell, that won’t be happening all that soon.
It’s in the bag.


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