Indiana News

Hungry goats could solve Indiana park’s overgrowth problems

NEWBURGH, Ind. (WEHT) — An untrained eye might look at the massive tree canopy of Newburgh’s Overlook Park and see a beautiful forest, crawling with wildlife along the Ohio River.

While it’s true that the park boats plenty of wild animals, the forest is crawling with wild vines, too, choking the trees growing there.

Town manager Christy Powell said the problem is already out of control, and it’s likely too much work for human hands to fix.

But the mouth of a goat could help.

Down on the farm for the last eight years, Jill Ingram at Blue Heron Farm has goats that are good for milk and soap, but Ingram and her husband Curtis have bigger plans.

They’re raising a herd of landscapers, fit to clear mountains of brush because they love to eat.

“They really enjoy wild honeysuckle, wild rose, grapevine; they can eat blackberry bushes; they can eat poison oak,” Ingram said.

That is good for Newburgh, where hungry goat bellies might save the park from the vine growth.

“Grapevines are growing quite uncontrollably out there,” Ingram said. She took samples of the vines from Overlook Park to the farm and said the goats loved it.

Ingram said a crew of six goats can eat their way through an acre of forest in a couple of weeks, cutting down the thick undergrowth.

The hope is that the goats will carve a path through the dense vines, either sufficient to kill them at the root, or enough that the vines can be ripped down by hand.

Ingram said goats like eating weeds and thorny vines more than grass, so the overgrowth in Overlook Park would be a perfect feast.

Ingram is putting together a proposal the town will review. If the goats get the go-ahead, some fencing, shelter and water is all that stands between them and their eating extravaganza.