Hitting the trails this spring? Dust off your feet before you head home

Group doing invasive species work says it sees a connection between foot traffic and invasive plants

It's just a quick PSA: if you're on Island trails, remember to brush off your feet before driving away!

That's the message from the Invasive Species Council as the group increasingly notices a correlation between foot traffic and the spread of invasive species — like plants that do not naturally occur on P.E.I.

"Invasive species, like any plant, puts out seeds and those seeds land in the dirt. And then when you are walking along the trail, and dirt will inevitably get picked up in your boots, seeds can come along with it," said Chase Guindon, co-ordinator with the council.

"If you use a boot brush, to brush off all that dirt and plant material off of your shoes before you leave the area… it will also leave the seeds behind… it will keep the invasive plant seeds where the invasive plants are."


Invasive Species Council co-ordinator Chase Guindon says boot brushing stations, like this one in New Brunswick, are being installed at some Island trails. (Kristin Elton)

The council recommends Islanders carry a small brush when wandering the trails. The organization is now including them in the hiking backpacks available on loan from the Charlottetown library.

"A lot of the time when you find invasive species, they are going to be in those high traffic areas, so along trails… we can see a correlation between trail use and the spread of invasive plants."

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As for the brushes themselves, Guindon said the council uses hoof picks or brushes, which are available from local farm supply stores.

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The story was originally written by Nicola MacLeod and published for CBC News.