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Wyoming goats chomping weeds around Bear Creek Garden through mid-November

The weed-eating goats from Wyoming had slim pickings Nov. 8 while temporarily penned inside the Bear Creek Garden - where Garden Association members have previously turned over the soil for the winter. But the animals are getting plenty of other munching opportunities during their 10-days-to-two-weeks stay in the 20-acre area buffering the garden from the rest of Bear Creek Park East (in backround).
Westside Pioneer photo
A herd of 500 to 600 cashmere goats arrived Nov. 4 and are expected to munch weeds in Bear Creek Regional Park much of the time through mid-November.
       It's become an annual thing for the Bear Creek Garden Association, which fundraises through the year to cover the cost of the annual fall visit. The goats belong to Lani Malmberg of Landers, Wyoming, who trucks them to various places around the Rocky Mountain region where organic weed control is preferred.
       In Bear Creek Park, the Garden Association contracts with Malmberg to cover the 20 acres around the 2-acre organic garden southeast of Rio Grande and 21st streets that it leases from El Paso County Parks.
       Consisting of people who sublease garden plots, the nonprofit group has brought in the goats most years since 1999. “The grazing also provides fire mitigation,” states a press release by the association's Karen Stith. “This organic form of weed control enables the county to avoid spraying herbicides near the garden.”
       State law requires the reduction of state-identified “noxious weeds” on public lands.
       At times, when Malmberg and her goats are in town, one or more area neighborhood groups have also contracted for their services on private open-space areas near their homes. This will be true again this year. They are slated to work in the neighborhood around the Mesa Wildlife Preserve north of King Street, according to Richard Serby, a property owner in that area.
       At Bear Creek Park, Malmberg welcomes visitors who want to watch the goats at work. People should keep their distance, however, and any dogs should be on leashes.
       For more information, call Stith at 634-4433 or e-mail bearcreekgardens@yahoo.com.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 11/7/15, updated 11/9/15; Outdoors: City/County Parks)

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