Macon-Bibb County’s Parks & Beautification Department is working with The Cud Crew to clear out significant undergrowth in an area near Ingleside Village that is planned for a passive park in the future. Located between East Buford Road, West Buford Road, and Ingleside Avenue, the area is currently overgrown, and The Cud Crew has brought in 13 sheep and one goat to eat the underbrush away. They are kept in the wooded area by an electric fence, both to keep them inside and to keep dogs and other predators away from them. Warnings have been posted along the fence.

“This is a unique idea but several major cities (Atlanta, Savannah) have had great results using sheep and goats for clearing,” says Parks & Beautification Director Mike Glisson. “Also, with the creek eventually flowing into the Ocmulgee river, we wanted to take an environmentally friendly approach, and the goats help us achieve that objective. They will also eat all the nasty poison ivy and briars making it easier for the tree company to work safely. Goats will go where we either can’t or won’t.”

“We are honored to be a part of this work and are excited to make the Cud Crew a part of the Ingleside neighborhood for the next couple of weeks. Our approach will be a neighborhood and environmentally friendly project that will be low impact and chemical free,” says Cud Crew owner Mark Vanderhoek. “We are excited to see this project progress and our animals are hungry for the opportunity to get to work!”

This process will take about 25 days, and the next phase would be clearing out any dead or undesirable trees to open up the pathways along the creek and get a better understanding of how much usable space is available. A full plan for the park is currently being developed, but by clearing the underbrush and dead trees, final decisions can be made about what improvements are possible.

“With some basic improvements and work, we could provide a great walking trail or relaxation area for the surrounding neighborhood,” says Glisson. “We’re very excited about creating a new park for the area to enjoy.”

A public meeting was held on January 29, 2020 for the neighborhood at The Society Garden in Ingleside Village, and more than 60 people came to provide input, both on what they would like to have and what they did not want. Some ideas that are currently being contemplated are pathways, a bridge over the creek, and picnic tables.

“This has been a great process to work through, including how we are incorporating the neighborhood’s comments about what they wanted in the area,” says Landscape Architect Wimberly Treadwell. “It was an overwhelming consensus to have a passive park with amenities that enhance people’s ability to interact with nature.”

Glisson says that if this type of underbrush clearing works in this area, it would be considered for other parks and areas as a potential method.