Stop the spread! Bushwalking guidelines to protect our environment

The current risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (F&MD) being introduced to Australia is a reminder for all bushwalkers to take precautions to combat the potential spread of soil borne diseases, the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi (pronounced fy-TOFF-thora), and even weed seeds! Each of these issues can cause significant destruction – to animals, plants, and the ecosystem.

Help stop the spread by complying with these guidelines:

Vegetation affected by Phytophthora cinnamomi

  • clean your boots before you leave home
  • park your car in designated car parks only
  • keep to designated roads and walking trails at all times
  • use hygiene stations where provided
  • Respect instructions from private landowners regarding areas of access
  • clean your boots when you finish your walk. Don’t take boots or shoes home to clean.

How to keep your footwear clean:

Hard brush for cleaning

Hard brush for cleaning boots and shoes

Bushwalkers are encouraged to carry a hygiene kit in their backpacks to keep footwear clean.

A ‘hygiene kit’ should contain:

  • hard brush to clean footwear
  • spray bottle of disinfectant
    • methylated spirits (undiluted) or
    • household bleach (diluted 1 part of bleach with 4 parts of water).

Cleaning procedure:

Hygiene station for cleaning boots

  1. if a hygiene station isn’t located on your walk, select a hard, well drained site for boot cleaning
  2. remove all soil and plant material from one boot at a time using the brush
  3. disinfect the entire sole using the spray bottle before placing the boot on the ground
  4. allow the sole of the boot to dry for approximately one minute
  5. step forward to avoid re-contaminating your footwear
  6. repeat steps two to six for the other boot
  7. finish by disinfecting the