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Invasive species? It won't happen to me.

In fact, numerous states including New York, have already enacted similar regulations to restrict the movement of firewood, for the purpose of containing the spread of invasives such as the Emerald Ash Borer. Regulations currently exist in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Other States, including South Dakota, Missouri, West Virginia, New Jersey and Vermont.

Taking matters into your own hands

Invasive species, especially of the aquatic type, will continue to pose the greatest immediate threat to our local forests and lakes. They will infringe on our abilities to enjoy such traditional outdoor activities as hunting, hiking, boating and fishing.

If there is any hope of combating this threat, it is up to each of us to be conscientious. We will have to take matters into our own hands. We will have to inspect and disinfect. We will have to respool and retool. Most of all, we will have to consider our grandchildren with every outing, for they are the ones that will inherit our treasured traditions, or not!

Rock snot, which has already been found in Saratoga county, is one of the most feared aquatic invasives. The single cell algae, which can carpet a stream with a wool like covering, can be transported with any moisture. It can be found on the felt soles of wading shoes, on a damp streamer fly that was tucked away safely in a flybox or even on a flyline coiled deep on a reel.

Alaska has banned the use of felt bottom wading shoes on state waters beginning in 2012, and Trout Unlimited (TU) has asked fishing equipment manufacturers to end the production of felt-soled waders and wading shoes by 2011 to help stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species in America's rivers and streams.

Despite the best intentions of industry executives, fly guides, river rats and a host of advocacy groups and government interests; there is only one sure method to ensure invasives don't spread. It is up to individuals to inspect, collect and clean their own equipment with no excuse. It is a selfish task, which when employed, will benefit everyone. For the sake of your great-grandchildren, take matters into your own hands today!

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net

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