Recreational Use and Invasive Species

3 mules saddled up with an old barn at Reds Horse RanchPacking up the trail, riding across the Forest, and camping along a stream are outdoor activities enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. However some of these activities can contribute to the introduction and spread of invasive plants (i.e. noxious weeds) that impact the environment. Invasive plants can decrease forage for livestock and widlife, overtake wildlife habitat and camping areas, and cause injury to animals and visitors.

How You Can Help

To be a responsible livestock rider, packer and camper please follow these prevention practices from the Oregon Department of Agriculture- Plant Division for Noxious Weed Control, and the Center for Invasive Plant Management.

  • Clean Your Gear - Enter public trails with clean shoes and clothing. Wash boots before hiking into a new area. Inspect and clean packs, equipment, bike tires.
  • Check Your Pets and Livestock - Be aware of the potential for pets and livestock to collect and carry weed seeds in fir and hooves. Simply brushing animals, boots and clothing before leaving sites will help prevent the spread of noxious invasive weeds to other areas.
  • Know your equipment - Routine checks of your equipment such as trailers, all-terrain vehicles, and trucks can often reveal plant parts and seeds hidden in the frames and undercarriages. Inspect and clean motorized and mechanized trail vehicles of weeds and their seeds at a controlled site.
  • Use Weed Free Forage and Bedding - Support the development and distribution of weed-free feed, hay, straw, and mulch, and use it during your visit.
  • Avoid moving through areas with weed infestations whenever possible.
  • Avoid picking unidentified “wildflowers” and discarding them along trails or roadways.


Regulations have been established to prevent or reduce the spread of invasive species on the National Forest lands in Oregon and Washington. In 2009 the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service established a regulation requiring all hay, hay cubes, straw, grain, and other crop or mulch products brought on to all National Forest land in the Pacific Northwest Region must be certified “weed free” using North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) standards, or better, regardless of how they are used (livestock feed, bedding, erosion control, mulch, etc.).

Some local counties and states also have laws and regulations requiring the use of locally purchased or certified weed-free feed, straw, grain and mulch.

State Weed-Free Feed Sources

The State of Oregon and some local sources offer weed-free feed. They include:

For More Information

For more information about invasive plants and how to prevent their spread, please check out these other websites.