The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest is celebrating Earth Day but also has advice for forest visitors this time of year.  

Be aware of ticks in brush-covered areas and check out your gear, your pets, and yourself so you don’t bring them home with you.  

National Forest spokesperson Robin De Mario says ticks will latch onto anything they can feed off of.  

“They feed off of wildlife most often,” said DeMario. “But if humans happen to be passing by and a tick gets on a person, they’ll take advantage of any warm-bodied individual to feed, so that’s something to be aware of.” 

People leaving the forest are advised to toss hiking clothes into a bathtub or washbasin full of water. When the ticks float to the surface, crush them or flush them down the toilet.  

Ticks are parasites that become active in the springtime in wooded areas. De Mario says ticks bite humans, and it hurts. “They attached themselves to you while they engorge their bodies with blood from your system,” DeMario said. “So, they are creepy crawlers, that’s all I can say about them.”   

Ticks also bring the risk of tickborne disease with them, with some of the more notable forms being Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. 

Hikers traveling in the woods are advised to stick to the middle of the trail where they're less likely to encounter ticks.  

Forest visitors can take preventative measures against ticks and that starts with clothing. 

  • Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts. 
  • Tuck your shirt into your pants and tuck your pants into your socks. 
  • Wear light-colored clothing so you can see ticks more easily if they start climbing on you 

In addition, forest visitors are also advised to keep dogs on a leash, so they are not roaming in tick-infested brush and grass.  

Dogs are known to be tick magnets and may bring ticks into homes. There are ways to help protect dogs from ticks, such as collars, sprays, shampoos, or monthly “top spot” medications. 

US Forest Service Public Lands Day

Get out your gloves and help the great outdoors!

Gallery Credit: Nicole Sherwood

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