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PlayCleanGo program to hold first Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks Day June 8 at Itasca State Park

PlayCleanGo: Stop Invasive Species in Your Tracks announces the first annual, Minnesota PlayCleanGo Day on Saturday, June 8, inviting individuals and families to take to the great outdoors, visit a campground or park, take a walk, hike, bike, ATV, off-road vehicle or horse ride on Minnesota trails, while supporting the efforts to stop the spread of terrestrial (i.e. land-based) invasive species.

Itasca State Park is one of the sites participating in the effort.

Volunteers across the state will be on-hand at Minnesota trail heads and recreation sites to promote the use of trails, parks and recreations sites and to bring awareness on how to help stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species on our treasured Minnesota land.

PlayCleanGo is working with a group of interagency and community partners including the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Transportation, Explore Minnesota and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to promote awareness, understanding and cooperation to stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species.

PlayCleanGo will be at Itasca State Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 8. The public is invited to visit one of the locations where volunteers will be available to answer questions and hand out information.

PlayCleanGo is an education and outreach campaign for outdoor recreationalists. The goal is to encourage outdoor recreation like off-road vehicle use, hiking, biking, horseback riding and more, while protecting valuable natural resources. The objective is to stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species through changes in public behavior. The campaign is designed to encourage simple and quick steps to help prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals while encouraging outdoor recreation.

Following these simple steps can help stop the spread of terrestrial invasive species:

n Arrive with clean gear.

n Burn local or certified firewood.

n Use local or weed-free hay.

n Stay on the trails.

n Before leaving, remove mud and seeds.

Terrestrial invasive species are land-based plants, animals and micro-organisms that are not native to a particular area. They are also species that are capable of causing severe damage in areas outside their normal range; harming the economy, the environment or human health once they become established. The term “invasive” is reserved for the most aggressive non-native species capable of changing site or living conditions for the worse where they establish.

A few of the common invasive species found on land include earthworms, Canada thistle, common buckthorn, wild parsnip and the two fungal species that cause Dutch elm disease and oak wilt. The emerald ash borer is a terrestrial invasive species relatively new to the state that has the public concerned about the health of their ash trees.

Visit for more information on how to become a PlayCleanGo partner.