Cumberland Valley Rail Trail’s newest employees: goats

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. --  Fast-growing and poisonous weeds are attacking the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail.

To combat the problem, the Cumberland Valley Rails-To-Trails Council has brought in some extra help: goats.

The next time you walk, run, or bike the Rail Trail, be on the look out for some goats.

The Cumberland Valley Rails-To-Trails Council sought some extra hooves, more than a dozen, to save the popular walking path.

"The big, important thing we have the goats here for is because a particular kind of weeds, a particularly noxious weed, called Japanese Knotweed, that is kind of like a bamboo weed, that is literally eating up through the trail," said Allen Dietrich-Ward, who sits on the Cumberland County Rails-To-Trails Council.

Instead, now the goats are chomping through the weeds.

"The beautiful thing about having the goats is it's completely environmentally sensitive," he added.

"We brought the goats in because it's sustainable. It's better than bringing a big lawn mower through here, and they're able to feast on all this stuff, and it feeds them as long as they are here," said Caylyn Hall, a soon-to-be senior at Shippensburg University.

Hall and a few other students at Ship collaborated to figure out a solution.

Hall minors in biology and geographic information systems or GIS.

Basically, she says she understands botany and can create maps, which she did in this case.

Hall plotted nearly 2 miles of land along the rail trail where Knotweed grows thick.

The solution, the goats, keeps with Cumberland County tradition and provide nutrients to the soil.

"They're actually fertilizing the ground because what goes in, must come out!'" explained Hall.

The goats have already made a big impact, clearing a thick area of weeds near the university.

There's nearly 2 miles of the weed, and the goats are contained to this spot for the time being.

"We would like to move them, but we need help with that," said Hall. "We need people to fund us to allow us to move these goats further down the trail to further target our problem areas, problem spots."

The goats unfortunately do not work for free.

They're a part of the FlockWorks -  a goat grazing company.

To donate to the 'Goat' FundMe, visit

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