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Great Neck goes off the bleat-en path to solve thorny issue

Hungry goats remove vines that are destroying parkland

Hungry goats remove vines that are destroying parkland in Great Neck. (Oct. 19, 2009) Credit: Mario Gonzalez

Got goats?

Faced with a voracious vine destroying parts of Kings Point Park, Great Neck park officials are hoping the pesky plants are no match for a herd of hungry goats.

More than two dozen goats will be unleashed to graze for six weeks as part of an effort to rid the park of the thorny vines, which are harming trails, plants, trees, nests and food for wildlife, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights) and Great Neck park officials announced Monday.

The goats will be joined by 11 volunteers from AmeriCorps, the federal government's national service program. The volunteers, ages 18 to 24, will pull up vines and dig up their roots.

The swift-growing plants are cat greenbrier vines, a variety of the voracious "smilax" vine and described in a news release as "thick and thorny." Extensive damage has been seen in the park's far western section.

Using chemicals to kill the vines is prohibited because the park is a protected wetlands area, officials said.

The 175-acre park, run by the Great Neck Park District, has picnic areas, softball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, a soccer field, horseshoe pitching and a hill for winter sledding.


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