Wipe Your Feet Please

     Silly as it may sound visitors to our area are being asked to wipe their feet before hiking some of our trails.  Boot brushes have been placed at trailheads in Cook County to help prevent the spread of invasive species. 

     Kudos to Cook County for creating a Cook County Invasive Team.  I’m happy to hear there is a group working to prevent invasive species in our county and I’m hoping people will take the time to Wipe Their Feet before they hike our trails.



Cook County Invasive Team boot brush signs have been installed at seven trailheads in Cook County. Invasive plant seeds can be spread into natural areas by ‘hitchhiking’ on shoes as visitors travel from infested to uninfested areas. To increase awareness of this introduction vector the Cook County Invasive Team has put together signs asking people to please ‘Clean Your Boots Before Entering’. These signs have been installed at Chik-Wauk Nature Center, Sugarloaf Nature Center, Eagle Mountain, Caribou Rock, Oberg Mountain, Magnetic Rock, and Pincushion Mountain trailheads. These signs provide general information about invasive species, threats posed by four specific species, and inform visitors of simple steps they can do to reduce the threat. These signs are organized with a hierarchy of information designed to target visitors willing to read the sign for 3 seconds, 30 seconds, or 3 minutes. Initial reaction has been very positive and they are already receiving heavy use. Next time you are out hiking don’t forget to ‘Clean Your Boots’ and let me know what you think of the signs.



Michael Lynch

Cook County Invasive Team Coordinator