By Jen Adams

For a week in early October, you might have noticed a crew of eight AmeriCorps members on the side of the roads in Lake Lure battling kudzu vines with loppers, saws, machetes, and backpacks. These AmeriCorps members, part of the American Conservation Experience (ACE), were hired by the Town of Lake Lure in partnership with the Weed Action Coalition of the Hickory Nut Gorge (WAC-HNG) to restore the native habitat along Memorial Highway.

In preparation for the World Equestrian Games coming to the area next summer, the Town of Lake Lure has decided to showcase the scenic beauty and eco-minded community of the Hickory Nut Gorge by removing non-native invasive kudzu from the area. Kudzu, a vine native to Asia that was brought to the United States for ornamental purposes and erosion control, is extremely detrimental to the native ecosystem. During the summer months, kudzu can grow up to a foot per day. It shades out native plants with its large leaves, strangles trees with its vines, and uses so much water that other plants cannot survive in areas that have been invaded by kudzu.

The Town of Lake Lure and WAC-HNG are encouraging private landowners along Memorial Highway to give permission to control their kudzu for free in spring 2018 and show the world that this community cares about protecting the Gorge and the unique native environment and beauty of the area!

Contact (828)697-5777 or wachng@gmail.com for more information and to get your kudzu under control this spring!