submitted by Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
While you are out enjoying nature, take precautions to help protect against noxious plants like poison ivy, wild parsnip and giant hogweed. These all have a presence in Eastern Ontario, lining roadside ditches, taking over empty fields and popping up along nature trails and woodlots.
Touching these plants or their sap can result in painful skin rashes and burns, particularly wild parsnip, which is sun-activated and can cause severe burns and even blindness in extreme cases.
Avoid contact with these plants by wearing long pants and sleeves and close-toed shoes and socks. The sap from these plants can contaminate your clothes, so be careful when undressing and handling your clothes after an outing.
If you do come in contact with the plants, wash the area with soapy water and stay out of the sun. If the sap gets in your eyes, wash immediately and contact a doctor.
And of course, in the midst of a global pandemic, trail users are reminded to keep two metres distance and wear a mask around anyone not from their household, to turn back if the site looks too busy, and to stay home if they’re sick.
While these risks are real and must be managed, getting outside has never been more important, and the RVCA is committed to providing safe and beautiful trails to help watershed residents connect with nature. Find your local trail here: www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas