Project Spotlight: Play Clean Go Outreach & Signage in Revelstoke
By Lara Phillips | November 27, 2023
Invasive species are recognized as one of the five most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide. As outdoor adventurers we can unintentionally be spreading invasive species while exploring BC’s vast trail networks and backcountry. When we’re out hiking and enjoying nature, we may accidentally pick ‘hitchhikers’ up along the way. The seeds of invasive plants can easily stick to boots, clothing, gear, and even pets. We can end up bringing these uninvited guests home to our neighbourhoods and communities and can silently spread invasive plants during our next adventure. While it can be overwhelming to think of all the ways people can spread invasive species, the solution itself is quite simple. By adopting simple, new habits, we can protect natural habitats and biodiversity from the threat of invasive species. It’s as easy as wiping off your boots!
A recent project by the Invasive Species Council of BC makes it easy for nature lovers hitting the Mt. Begbie backcountry and Begbie Bluffs trail system to practice good new habits. With support from the Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) and the BC Ministry of Forests (MoF), permanent boot brush stations have been installed at the two trailheads. Next time you visit these popular sites, be sure to give your footwear a wipe before you head out on the trail, and after you return. By using the boot brush station on the way in and out, we can keep invasive species out of the area while also ensuring any invasive plant seeds you may step on while in the area don’t leave with you. Easy access to the boot brush stations as you begin your hike, run or climb makes this a simple habit to include in your adventure – one that directly supports conservation of these unique and sensitive ecosystems.
Many of the ecological issues our planet faces today are complex, daunting and seem near impossible to solve. But small acts like ensuring your gear isn’t accidentally spreading invasive species to trails and backcountry areas, can make a big impact. We have a shared responsibility to steward the natural places we know and love, to help maintain their health and resilience for future generations. Plus, less vacuuming of the car, a nice clean bike, or not getting yelled at for tracking mud on the shiny kitchen floor – you’re sure to discover some personal gains too!
To learn more about invasive species, how to identify them and the responsible practices like Play Clean Go that help protect the natural spaces we love, visit the Identify, Report, and Play Your Part pages on our website. For residents and visitors of the Columbia-Shuswap area, including Revelstoke, visit CSISS’s website for local information. Reporting invasive species while enjoying the great outdoors is incredibly helpful to invasive species organizations, governments, researchers, and land managers. More information on reporting tools and contacts can be found on ISCBC’s and CSISS’s websites and is linked with a QR code on the boot brush stations at Mt. Begbie and Begbie Bluffs trailheads.
The Invasive Species Council of BC would like to extend a huge thank you to the Columbia-Shuswap Invasive Species Society and the BC Ministry of Forests in Revelstoke for their support with this important community project. Happy trails!
This project was made possible in part through a grant from the Alpine Club of Canada’s Environment Fund. Thank you!
Lara Phillips is a Special Projects Lead at ISCBC. An avid trail runner and backcountry enthusiast, she feels most at home amongst nature and cares deeply about protecting BC’s diverse ecosystems. You can reach Lara at email@example.com