Broom busters take on Bald Mountain in Cowichan Lake area May 7

Volunteer group hopes to remove invasive plants

Broom busters at work. (YCA photo)

There’ll be a hefty volunteer contingent on Bald Mountain May 7 and they’re zeroing in on the destruction of their enemy.

That enemy? Scotch broom.

Youbou Community Association board member Debbie Smith explained that the YCA will be out en masse, together with volunteers from the Lake Cowichan Trail Blazer Society, the CVRD, and Fire Smart volunteers, and others, in a broom busting blitz.

“It’s a combined effort,” Smith said. “We are all helping to cut broom and work together. I think the developer there, he’s also willing to help out there too. It’s a real community effort.”

The invasive plant that’s slowly trying to take over the Pacific Northwest can only be removed safely during certain times of the year and this is the time to destroy it before it overtakes the mountain.

The CVRD doesn’t have the machinery to remove the broom on the trails so the volunteers need to cut it down by hand and use tarps to carry it down from the mountain.

According to, Scotch Broom is highly flammable, spreads quickly and densely, crowds out native plants leading to less diversity, prevents forest regrowth and is toxic to wildlife among other problems.

Broom needs to be in bloom to be cut. That usually occurs between mid April through early June. If cut at ground level while in bloom during the dry season, the plant usually dies. If cut when it’s not as dry, it often re-sprouts.

“I think it’s kind of neat that we’ve got the CVRD and the community all working together,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of broom up there. We’re just doing what we can.”

The group of volunteers will gather at the bottom of the mountain around 9:15 a.m. on May 7 and go through a rundown of the broom busting plans before heading out at 9:30 a.m. around the wetlands loop and the trail area.

Volunteers are welcome but you must sign up in advance for this event as space is limited. Sign up at or email the CVRD’s parks volunteer coordinator, Elizabeth Aitken at 250-746-2649 or 250-709-1739 for more information or to register.

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