Irish Hills looks to return beauty of the landscape

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The scenic views of the Old Sauk Trail, now U.S. 12, with its mature trees opening up to beautiful valleys and lakes beyond, must have amazed the original settlers of this region. With invasive vegetation crowding out much of the beauty, the original view is often hidden away. The goal of The Irish Hills Corridors Beautification Project is to bring back that natural beauty.

“It’s evolved from a concern for the appearance of the Irish Hills,” said Bob Kellum, member of the Oh These Irish Hills! Beautification and Economic Development Committee.

He said, “Many of the viewscapes are being choked up by the brush. This is invasive brush, non-native material. Locally, the biggest offender is autumn olive. There would be a couple of close contenders in honeysuckle and buckthorn.”

Committee members believe the scenic views of the Irish Hills are among the area’s greatest assets, and their preservation and enhancement are fundamental to sustained community vitality. The project seeks to enlist the community in restoring the original appeal of the Irish Hills landscape.

“If left unattended, we know from experience they will not only block views but make property inaccessible,” Kellum said. “This is a good first step to raise people’s consciousness.”

The Irish Hills Corridors Beautification Project starts by identifying potential scenic views along US-12. Pilot projects will be used to draw attention to the beautification from removing invasive vegetation. Information will be offered to property owners who want to participate and enhance the scenic value of their property. The group also plans to solicit municipal involvement.

“We’ve identified a number of viewscapes where a little bit of work would go a long way to open up a vista,” said Kellum.

The created process will showcase completed work, allow for public input, solicit community buy-in and ultimately generate a ‘Corridors Improvement Action Plan.’ The process begins with a public meeting at Cambridge Township Hall on Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m.

To contribute financially or volunteer time to this or other Oh These Irish Hills! initiatives, please contact: Kay Roumell, 330 Wyoming, Brooklyn MI 49230, 517.403.5358, ohtheseirishhills@frontiernet.net.




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