Volunteers make Whitewater State Park more safe


On Saturday, June 30, volunteers at Whitewater State Park will don long-sleeved shirts and rubber gloves for the sixth annual Wild Parsnip Pull. Since 2013, countless volunteers have pulled thousands of wild parsnips from campsites and along the roads and trails in the park.

Wild parsnip is an exotic invasive species that can cause severe blistering when bare skin comes in contact with the oils of the plant. Wild parsnip is prevalent in road ditches and fields and has become increasingly common on public lands. The best way to control wild parsnip is to remove their plants by the large taproot.

At Whitewater State Park, this annual effort is paying off! For example, in 2010, more than 1,399 parsnips were pulled on campsites #14 through #32. In 2015, only seven were pulled from the same location. But there are many more to pull throughout the park.

Each year, a number of park visitors experience walking along trails while holding their arms near their bodies to keep from brushing up against parsnips. This volunteer effort could use 50 or 100 people and still have locations that cannot be tended. Volunteers will be rewarded with a free lunch and peace of mind in knowing that many park visitors have been spared the experience of a parsnip rash.

To sign up for this event email sara.holger@state.mn.us or call 507-312-2308.


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