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Love to take to the water by boat or to the trails by motorbike or off-road vehicle? Responsible ownership and operation of these vehicles requires you to be mindful of preventing the spread of invasive species.

What are some of the dangers of transporting invasive species, and how can you help stop the spread of invasive species before and after you take your recreational vehicles out for a spin? Here’s everything you need to be aware of the next time you recreate:

Dangers of transporting invasive species

When you take to the trails or waterways in your recreational vehicles, you need to be careful—you could start the process of non-native species introduction. The moment you drive past a plant or set down your gear next to a trail, seeds and plant debris can cling to your things. Likewise, when you’re out for a day on the water, you could be picking up aquatic plants and organisms on your boat and equipment.

Why can transporting invasive species be so harmful? Non-native species can outcompete native ones for food and habitat—in the very worst case, they can cause native species extinction. To educate yourself on the invasive species that are prevalent in your state or regions you may be traveling to, read Wikipedia's List of Invasive Species in the United States.

Every time you operate your recreational vehicle, enjoy the adventure but be sure to leave invasive species behind. Here are some guidelines for the most common vehicle types:

Off-road vehicles

There’s nothing like hitting your trails in an off-road vehicle like an ATV, UTV, OHV or snowmobile. Enjoy your journeys responsibly by performing the following steps when you head out for your next excursion:

Dirt biking

Want to take your bike out for a spin on your favorite trail? These are the steps you need to take to ensure you don’t transport invasive species along with you:


Ready to enjoy a day out on the water? Before you leave the boat ramp, you have a duty to make sure you aren’t transporting invasive species back home or wherever your travels take you. Here are some steps you should take to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species:

Recreational vehicles are made for fun, but there’s much more to responsible ownership than simply driving your boat, bike or off-road vehicle safely. By taking the steps above whenever you head out for an exciting excursion, you’ll keep invasive species at bay and protect our ecosystem.