Got Goats? Plymouth Township Weighs Options for Local Park
Eco-Goats is one potential inhabiter of Harriet Wetherill Park.
It encompasses 67 acres of sprawling, natural lands along Narcissa Road. The Plymouth Township Board of Supervisors is busy trying to figure out its future. What should be done with Harriet Wetherill Park?
The public will get to weigh in on the topic with a meeting regarding the park's future. Residents are asked to attend on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Greater Plymouth Community Center. One of the possible futures for the park? Goats.
Eco-Goats, is now in its fifth year, and is seeking to expand its operations. The Maryland-based organization provides a very natural alternative to what it calls "vegetation management."
"We bring in a herd of goats," said Brian Knox, supervising forester and president of Sustainable Resource Management. "They’re fun, but you can do damage with a goat like you can with a mower."
Knox said he surveyed the park and thinks it would be an ideal home for an Eco-Goats herd. Usually consisting of 30 goats, a herd is penned in by fences set up by Eco-Goat foresters.
"We are interested in the possibility of putting a satellite operation up there, house animals there, instead of hauling back and forth from [Maryland]," said Knox. "The park provided a pretty reasonable possibility for that with pastures in place. It needs fencing but already barns and living space for those caring for animals. It is an interesting possibility for us."
Knox said the arrangement could be win/win for the Township, as well.
"It looked like we could work in some trades with the township on work they need to get done, too," he said.
So what purpose would goats in the park serve?
"Goats are very broad spectrum with what they eat," said Knox. "I call them herbicides with legs. If they like it, they’re gonna eat it; so if you have stuff there you want to keep, goats are not good. If you have mostly an invasive species or an impenetrable wall of green you can't get into, [goats] are great there."
Knox said that goats naturally maintain large, green spaces. They can get around wooded debris, such as fallen trees, up steep or rocky slopes and into other areas people and machines, such as lawn mowers, cannot.
"They're not bothered by thorns or poison ivy," he said. "They eat it all."
Knox said he heard about Plymouth’s Harriet Wetherill Park while working with Millbourne Borough in Delaware County. The Blue Bell-based LandConcepts has been hired by the township to advise the board of supervisors on possilbe futures for the park. LandConcepts will present ideas at Tuesday night's meeting, one of which is Eco-Goats, for public discussion. The firm will also welcome the public's input on ideas.
"[LandConcepts] heard about us, had seen what we’d done, researched us a bit and contacted us," said Knox. "I came up and looked at it, and got excited."
To goat, or not to goat? That, Plymouth Township, is the question. If you'd like to weigh in, attend the Tuesday night meeting at 7 p.m. at Greater Plymouth Community Center. For more on the Eco-Goats program, check out the YouTube video with this story.