CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Weed and Pest Council, or WWPC, in partnership with PlayCleanGo, is participating in the fifth annual PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, which takes place from June 3 to June 10.
This week is dedicated to stopping the spread of invasive species by educating recreationists about quick and easy ways to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.
Throughout the week, WWPC will join with PlayCleanGo to share information about invasive species and steps that members of the public can take, whether out on a hike, boating or enjoying a picnic in the park.
“As people head outdoors this summer, we want them to know that a little bit of prevention contributes to a greater effort of keeping Wyoming wild and beautiful,” said Donley Darnell, WWPC president.
“Invasive insects, noxious weeds and plant diseases cost the U.S. an estimated $40 billion annually in damages to our lakes, forests and farms. They can threaten our state’s economy, food supply, environment and in some cases, even public health,” Darnell said.
Invasive species are a major threat to native wildlife and ecosystems, with nearly 50% of endangered or threatened species at risk due to the spread, according to a press release from WWPC. While often unintentional, people can spread invasive species with the items they move, such as their boots, tires, boats, firewood, pets, horses and more.
Per the release, here are six easy steps Wyomingites can take to stop the spread of invasive species:
- Clean your shoes, clothes, packs and pets before and after exploring, and stay on designated trails.
- Clean your horse’s hooves and feed them weed-free certified hay before your adventure.
- Clean, drain and dry your watercraft and angling equipment to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers.
- Don’t Move Firewood. Buy it where you burn it, buy certified heat-treated firewood, or gather on-site when permitted.
- Before traveling to new areas, inspect and clean your trailers, off-road and recreational vehicles with water or compressed air to remove mud, plant parts and hidden pests.
- Take the PlayCleanGo Pledge and invite your family and friends to do the same at PlayCleanGo.org.
For more information on what you can do to help stop the spread of invasive pests and to take the pledge, visit PlayCleanGo.org. Follow PlayCleanGo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and resources.