As I laced up my hiking boots to start my hike up Grizzly Peak, I thought about the hike I took last week in eastern Oregon. I looked down at my hiking boots and I noticed how dirty they were from last week’s hike. I thought to myself “I should have cleaned my boots prior to this hike.”
Although this is a fictional scenario, have you ever been in the situation where you take a hike in one area and then turn around the next day, week, or even month and go hiking in a different place? If so, did you clean your hiking boots? Hiking boots are a transporter of invasive species. This is one thing that every outdoor enthusiast can do to help reduce the spread of invasive species.
Why is this so important? Invasive species can have a huge impact on an environment’s stability and biodiversity, as well putting native species in danger of extinction. Prevention of invasive species is much easier and less costly than trying to eradicate or control an invasive species once it has been introduced and is established.
I have read a few different ways to effectively clean your hiking boots between hikes. Some of these techniques were complicated and dependent upon the target organism that may have been on the hiking boots. One of the more simple ways of cleaning your hiking boots that I did come across was to first rinse boots free of soil and seeds. Then spray boot and sole with a 10% bleach solution.
Please take responsibility of your hiking boots. Taking the time to clean them will help to reduce the pathway for invasive species!