What is one of the most common ways for invasive plants to spread along trails to backcountry hiking areas? On our shoes! Seeds, rhizones, and animal eggs can travel in soil found on the bottom of our hiking boots and gear. Using something as simple as a boot brush station to clean footwear before and after a hike can limit the spread of invasive species like garlic mustard or nvasive jumping worms that can quickly outcompete native species, shifting the balance of woodland ecosystems.
In aquatic ecosystems invasive zooplankton, larvae, plants, and didymo can travel to new water ways on fishing gear, boots, and waders. It is vital to clean, drain, and dry all boats and gear when moving from one water body to the next to prevent the spread of invasive species when you recreate. In the Adirondacks along the west branch of the AuSable River, the AuSable River Association supplies anglers with free wader wash stations to clean boots and fishing gear when utilitzing this important waterway.
APIPP hopes that low tech decontamination stations can be installed across the Adirondacks to help slow the spread of invasive species at popular recreation spots, boat launches, and campgrounds. To help make this possible, our team is offering design assistance, downloadable templates, and assembly instructions to our community. If you are a resource manager, non-profit, volunteer association, community group, park professional, or government agency please contact Emily-Bell Dinan, APIPP Education & Outreach Coordinator today!