Goats from Trinity Farms Center for Healing grazed near the Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail for 4 days, which started May 20th. Trinity Farms Center for Healing, Beginnings Inc. Family Foundations Academy, the Cambria County Corrections Center, and the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority (CCCRA) partnered together to address the invasive Japanese Knotweed that continues to spread along the trail. Community members were able to watch the goats from the Ferndale Bridge on Bridge Street in Moxham.
Twelve Kiko breed goats grazed on an approximate one acre section between the Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail in Johnstown and the Stonycreek River. A portable fence was set up, so the goats could roam. They were taken back to the farm every night. Goats can eat 20 percent of their body weight in vegetation each day. Since they have to eat anyway, and steep, overly dense hillsides are their playgrounds, it was a perfect match.
Director Paula Eppley-Newman is the board chair of the Trinity Farms Center for Healing. They use these goats, among other animals, fresh air, and farming as therapy to help people in their healing processes. They help people to integrate back into the community after incarceration, addiction recovery or mental health issues have impacted their lives.
The invasive plant is called Japanese knotweed and has taken over the trail. CCCRA is looking for way to get rid of the plants without using harmful sprays or herbicides. This technique is happening in cities across the country, including Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. Being able to bring the farm life to the city is an added part of this project, made possible by Trinity Farms.
Organizers say once the knotweed is gone, they will be able to replant native species. And those walking the trail will get a better view of the river again, too. The Jim Mayer Riverswalk Trail is a 3.1-mile urban trail, managed by the CCCRA, on the east end of the City of Johnstown. Following the Stonycreek River, the trail begins in Riverside on Michigan Ave. and ends in Hornerstown on Messenger St., near Sandyvale Memorial Gardens & Conservancy. In May of 2016, the newest 1.7 mile section, which extends from Bridge St. to Sandyvale Memorial Gardens and Conservancy in Johnstown, opened to the public. This trail offers beautiful views of the river, abundant bird-life and wildflowers, and serenity within an urban setting. The other Cambria County trails that the CCCRA manages include the Path of the Flood Trail and the Ghost Town Trail.
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