Committee member pushes for pesticide-free parks in Minneapolis

More than eight months after the Minneapolis Board of Parks and Recreation issued a moratorium on the use of glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical found in products such as Roundup, a committee member is sounding the alarm.

“I’m going to continue advocating for pesticide free parks,” said Russ Henry, a member of the Pesticide Advisory Committee.

Henry says that he took a picture, showing that Garlon, which uses the herbicide Triclopyr as a main ingredient, was recently used at Minnehaha Falls Park to control poison ivy.

“The warning label on the bottle for Triclopyr, clearly says that you’re not supposed to use it in areas where people are present or near the water edge,” said Henry.

He says doing so, comes with risks.

“It concerns me most that this was used in a space where the children play and right near the water’s edge,” said Henry.

Managing more than 6,000 acres of parks, trails and open spaces, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation states on its website that all parkland must be managed in accordance with the Minnesota Noxious Weed Law, and the goal is to use as little pesticides as possible. 

The website also states that since the 1990s, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation has been working to reduce the amount of pesticides on parks lands through an integrated pest management approach.

Henry says that’s not enough.

“I’d really like to get across to the board members that it’s time to transition to a pesticide-free park system,” he said. “It will take creativity, it’s going to take investments, but it’s time for us to take the poison out of our park system.”

Henry plans to take his concerns to the park board at a meeting Monday night.