W. D. Thomson Park Restoration Project
Heavy use over the last 70 years and environmental pressure from neighboring developments has placed a great deal of stress on all areas of the park. Ten years ago a group of volunteers from neighborhoods adjacent to the park partnered with Park Pride to form the Friends of Thomson Park. This group has been actively working since then to remove invasives (until recently primarily privet) and to develop and maintain a safe and well defined set of trails along the creeks and through the woods.
In 2019, a plan to focus more intently on one heavily damaged 2 acre section of the park as a renovation site was approved by DeKalb County. In early 2020, just in time for the pandemic to hit, the project was endorsed and approved by GNPS. Though behind schedule as a result of challenges during the pandemic, much progress has been made in the area of invasive removal, trail repair, and soil prep for our first small plantings in December of 2021. The site includes hilly hardwood forest, creek and riparian corridor, and an old ball field, a portion of which is being converted to a meadow. Pedestrian bridges and sitting areas will be added in coming years.
An ongoing inventory of plants in this section of the park contains 74 species, of which (other than a few species of hardwood trees) only 11 are beneficial or non-weedy natives. The rest are either invasives, exotic ornamentals, or weedy natives such as poison ivy, ragweed, and greenbriar, etc. There’s a lot more to rip out and ban from the park than just privet!
Friends of Thomson Park volunteers meet once a month year-round, and also in smaller groups for various tasks in between our official workdays. Come on out and visit; it’s a nice little gem of a park.
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