Bushwalkers from all over the world flock to Tasmania to experience our spectacular scenery and pristine wilderness. Part of the experience of venturing outdoors in this part of the world is, of course, the mud and moisture that seems to be unavoidable wherever you venture – you’re likely to find yourself at least partly covered in some of Tassie’s finest soil.
The problem is that mud can carry microscopic organisms – pests, weeds and disease-causing pathogens – that have the potential to devastate the bushland areas we love to explore.
One drop of contaminated moisture or mud from your walking boot, or your raincoat, gaiters or a tent peg is enough to put a pristine area at risk.
One of the major threats we face is an introduced fungus called Chytrid, which has wiped out entire frog populations elsewhere in the world. It’s already popped up at some places in Tasmania and we’re working hard to make sure it doesn’t spread any further.
Another concern, a pathogen called phytophthora, attacks the roots of plants and can destroy entire vegetation communities. It too is already present in the state and it is vital we keep it from spreading.>> Read the full story
Check, Clean, Dry
If you stick to one area all the time then there’s little risk of spreading unwanted organisms around. But the nature of bushwalking means that we tend to explore different areas and so the risk of carrying a microscopic hitchhiker to some place it shouldn’t be is actually quite high.
Some people from other states believe that if their walking gear is clean before they get here then there’s no need to be so careful when moving between sites in Tasmania.
That’s not the case. We already have some introduced pests, weeds and disease-causing pathogens in this state and it is vital that we limit their spread.
Make sure your walking boots and other equipment are spotless each time you explore a new place. Check, Clean and Dry your kit between walks, and if you can’t be sure it will dry before you next use it, Disinfect as well.
- It’s not only your walking boots that are likely to harbour mud and moisture. You need to inspect and clean your other clothing, pack, gaiters, tent and pegs, trowel, walking poles.
- Velcro on your jacket, pack and gaiters is notorious for catching seeds. Check it carefully.
- If it’s unlikely your gear will dry completely use F10 disinfectant to kill any microorganisms that might be hiding (be careful where you drain it – although it is biologically safe F10 should be kept away from waterways).
These short videos will help you to understand the significance of the problem we face here in Tasmania.