Mission: Portland Trails

Research Question

Where are the invasive species along the 50-mile Portland Trails system? Can we help the Portland Trails crew identify, monitor, and manage these species?

You're invited

Portland Trails' Foreman, Charlie Baldwin, says invasive species are a major concern for the trail system. He wants our help documenting where these species are, and monitoring and managing the habitats that border the trails. Vital Signs can help Charlie target his management efforts, and also monitor the success of these efforts over time.
Fore River Sanctuary Trail VIDEO!


Mission steps

1. Find a trail near you! Map of Portland Trails system

2. Print a species ID card for one of the species Portland Trails is concerned about:

    Bittersweet nightshade, Solanum dulcamara
    Black swallowwort, Cynanchum louiseae
    Burning bush, Euonymus alatus
    Common reed, Phragmites australis
    Japanese barberry, Berberis thunbergii
    Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica
    Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica, WINTER ID
    Morrow's honeysuckle, Lonicera morrowii
    Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora
    Oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus

2. Print an Upland Species Survey datasheet

3. Go out and look for the invasive species (enjoy the trail while you're out!)

4. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link in upper right) to add your "found" or "not found" observation

5. Do more! After you publish your species observations, there are opportunities to help Portland Trails with their invasive species removal efforts! If you you're into pulling and tugging and restoring native habitat, email Charlie directly to see how you can get involved: charlie@trails.org.

Why this Mission matters

Portland Trails is a nonprofit land trust that preserves green space for public access and connects people with places. The trail systems they maintain and the programs they offer engage neighborhoods, schools, and the business community in the Greater Portland area in trail use and land stewardship. Charlie and his team keep the trail system open and well-maintained for recreation and transportation.

Because of the opportunistic nature and aggressive growth of invasive species, these species quickly populate trail edges, and encroach on the trails. This makes the trails narrow and harder to use. Habitat overrun by invasive species may also be less pleasing to hike or bike through than habitat populated with native plant communities.

Charlie explains, “Upland invasive species can be found on almost all of the trails in greater Portland. Japanese knotweed and common reed are gaining a foothold in the Fore River Sanctuary. Morrows honeysuckle and winged burning bush are forming thickets along the Stroudwater Trail. Asiatic bittersweet and Japanese barberry line the banks of the Presumpscot River. Multiflora rose spreads its thorny canes into every habitat it finds.” READ MORE about the state of invasive species along the trails