Prospective Eagle Scouts, I'm looking at you. A very simple invention has been popping up on hiking trails across North America, and it's time we starting installing them here in the Hudson Valley.

The best part is that this helpful contraption solves two problems at once: one faced by hikers and the other faced by environmental scientists. While it may not be the first time you've seen one of these things, I'm willing to bet it's the first time you saw one in a state or town park.

Pinery Provincial Park via Facebook
Pinery Provincial Park via Facebook

Boot Brushes on Local Hiking Trails

"Did you know that [there are] boot brushes installed at the start of each trail?", began a recent post from a park in Ontario, Canada. "These help clean your footwear at the end of a hike but should also be used before you start your walk!" The reason explorers are asked to do a pre-clean their footwear all has to do with helping halt the spread of invasive species.

Pinery Provincial Park
Pinery Provincial Park

How Boot Brushes Can Stop Invasive Plants

The idea behind the boot brushes is to remove stowaway plant seeds that may have hitched a ride from other areas. "We expect different plants to pop up at the base of the brush stations", the park said, "but the main goal is to keep as many invasive plants concentrated in one area as possible rather than scattered throughout the trail.". That's exactly why we need them here in New York.

SEE ALSO: These 74 Plants are Banned in New York State

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) is constantly working to halt the growth of invasive plant species. In fact, 74 plants are banned in New York due to their harmful effects on our ecosystem. If they're truly effective, boot brushes sound like a very affordable weapon in the battle to halt their spread.

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These boot brushes seem pretty affordable, too. If there's too much red tape to get the ball rolling with the NYS DEC, it seems like the perfect project for a prospective Eagle Scout or anyone else looking to make a positive impact through community service.

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