Simple steps to stop the spread of invasive species

PlayCleanGo® Awareness Week is June 3-10

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CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC), in partnership with PlayCleanGo®, is excited to participate in the fifth annual PlayCleanGo Awareness Week, June 3-10, 2023. 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 our native wildlife and ecosystems, with nearly 50 percent of endangered or threatened species at risk due to the spread. While often unintentional, people can spread invasive species with the items they move, such as their boots, tires, boats, firewood, pets, horses and more.

For outdoor enthusiasts, protecting your favorite natural space from invasive species doesn't take much.

Here are six easy steps you 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.

Following any combination of these steps will do wonders to protect the places you love. You can do even more by educating yourself about invasive species, especially those found in your region. Your local weed and pest district office is a trusted resource. Every little bit of prevention helps, and combining the small measures you take at home with the large efforts of your local land managers leaves a huge impact.

For more information about WWPC and how you can help keep Wyoming wild and beautiful, visit wyoweed.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest news and resources.

About the Wyoming Weed and Pest Council

Wyoming Weed and Pest Council (WWPC) is comprised of 23 Weed and Pest districts in the state of Wyoming. The Council works closely with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture and the University of Wyoming to keep current with the latest technology and research available in the ongoing management of noxious weeds and pests. The overall mission is to provide unified support and leadership for integrated management of noxious weeds and pests to protect economic and ecological resources in the state.