WATERTOWN, NY — The City of Watertown, in partnership with various local organizations, will continue efforts this fall to maintain overgrown vegetation in Thompson Park, with a specific emphasis on the removal of invasive species such as Common Buckthorn, Honeysuckle and Oriental Bittersweet. Invasive species continue to be an issue in Thompson Park as these non-native species have completely taken over certain areas in the park and choked out native species in others.
Beginning on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, Black River Tree Removal will be clearing roadside brush along the West Entrance Drive (Gotham Street Entrance) to Thompson Park. Black River Tree Removal’s work is being made possible through a donation from GYMO Architecture, Engineering & Land Surveying, DPC, who will be paying for their services. GYMO employees will further work to enhance Thompson Park by participating in a trail development and brush clearing day to be held on October 14, 2021.
This work will be followed up by brush clearing and trail development efforts spearheaded by the Friends of Thompson Park on October 16, 2021. The Friends have led efforts to develop new walking trails and clear brush in the same area. The Friends have been working monthly since April with the assistance of their dedicated members alongside other members of the community including volunteers from Target, Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Program and others.
The volunteer efforts are coordinated by Staff from the City Manager’s Office, the Planning and Community Development Department and the Parks and Recreation Department. Parks and Recreation Staff, along with Department of Public Works crews, also have cut brush for the volunteers to remove and grind brush throughout the year.
The efforts are all part of a plan to remove invasive species and open areas of the park up for use by the community. Thompson Park was designed in the early 20th Century by John and Fredrick Law Olmsted Jr., sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City’s Central Park and many other parks throughout the United States. All invasive species removal and trail development will be done with a keen understanding and thoughtful consideration of the original Olmsted design intent and existing conditions within the park. Some of the clearing may seem drastic and harsh at first, but it is necessary for restoring the Park’s historic landscape.
For further information or questions, please contact the City’s Planning and Community Development Department at (315) 785-7741 or the Parks and Recreation Department at (315) 785-7775.