As spring awakens across the country, outdoor recreation enthusiasts are beginning to look again for opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. America’s spectacular national forests and national grasslands provide some of the greatest opportunities for outdoor recreation in the world.
But these beautiful and inspiring natural places are also under attack from hundreds of invasive plants, animals and pathogens. These exotic invaders disrupt natural ecological balance and can negatively impact the quality of outdoor recreation experiences. Invasives can threaten human health and safety and possibly reduce access to some areas.
In financial terms, the loss of outdoor recreation uses in an area, due to invasive species infestations, can drastically impact local recreation-dependent economies, causing some businesses to lose customers and potentially result in job losses in those communities.
As people travel around the country on their excursions, they may be accidentally giving a free ride to some of these unwanted invaders. Invasives can hitchhike on vehicles, gear and equipment, pets or even on humans.
Prevention and control of invasive species is an achievable goal linked directly to common outdoor recreation ethics and stewardship principles. To learn how you can play your part in the invasive species battle, watch the Telly Award-winning digital video “Playing Smart Against Invasive Species – How to Enjoy and Protect the Great Outdoors.”