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#11232 - 03/02/11 12:09 AM Wilderness poop
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Bob R sent me a link to an interesting conference:

Managing Human Waste in the Wild, sponsored by the American Alpine club.

Also a related commentary by AAC Past President Jim McCarthy Reflects On Exit Strategies

A significant quote about Garry Oye, former chief ranger of Inyo National Forest:
Quote:
Garry Oye, Chief of the NPS Wilderness and Stewardship Division, gave a forceful and persuasive presentation on his management conclusions concerning waste management on Mt. Whitney and his implementation of Carry Out on a this popular peak. Mr. Oye was quick to acknowledge compliance difficulties, since such programs require a very large attitude shift among users. He then pointed out that knowledge and education were crucial parts of a successful program.


Edit July, 2013: Unfortunately the AAC website no longer carries those articles, and the WAG bag situation has worsened in the Mt Whitney area with reduced ranger presence. It seems the rangers have been personally carrying out abandoned used WAG bags in the past, and with fewer rangers on the trail, the problem has increased. One hiker reported seeing about 50 abandoned bags along the trail this summer on one hike.

For a long-running discussion on the topic, read Solar Toilets vs Carrying Wag Bags thread -- 7 pages so far.

Update 2014: Torching whitney Toilets


Edited by Steve C (05/29/14 10:05 AM)

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#11233 - 03/02/11 02:12 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 926
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
what about these guys?


PS The solution to pollution is dilution


Edited by Harvey Lankford (03/02/11 02:13 AM)

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#11236 - 03/02/11 05:39 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Harvey Lankford]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Hmmm...in pre-Oye times, the good old days, I don't recall seeing an assortment of bags filled with hazardous waste along the trail. The last time I counted a dozen between just below Lower Trail Crest to Whitney Portal.

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#11238 - 03/02/11 06:37 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: wbtravis]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Quote:
Hmmm...in pre-Oye times, the good old days, I don't recall seeing an assortment of bags filled with hazardous waste along the trail. The last time I counted a dozen between just below Lower Trail Crest to Whitney Portal.


One of those trade-off things. You probably also remember the "solar" outhouse at Trail Camp that you could literally smell 1/4 mile away and that usually had barrels of human waste stored outside until such time as it could be packed out. Same with the Whitney toilet -- a garbage can with holes in it to drain the liquids and which had to be removed by helicopter twice a year.

There are really no good solutions for the number of people that use the Whitney corridor. The wag bags seem to be working OK -- a surprise to me. I didn't think compliance would be so high though obviously some people are just dumping them on the trail and under rocks (not happening as much on the NPS side).

George
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#11239 - 03/02/11 07:02 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: George]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I suspect it doesn't happen in the park because people dig hole, even in The Whitney Zone.

My guess is for every visible WAG bag along the MMWT there are ten others under rocks or behind bushes. To me, this is failed policy...along with being disgusting.

The FS is relying on the citizenry to clean up this mess. As Mr. Oye said to me, his people aren't paid or trained to handle hazardous waste.

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#11240 - 03/02/11 08:41 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: George]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1025
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: George
[quote]
Same with the Whitney toilet -- a garbage can with holes in it to drain the liquids and which had to be removed by helicopter twice a year.


but it had the best view from a toilet, ever!


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#11241 - 03/02/11 08:42 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: wbtravis]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 552
Loc: Murrieta, CA
We all see the policy and know it doesn't work perfect, but in my opinion, when the time comes, "most" hikers use the wag bags. Some from pressure from their friends, some because they know it's the right thing. There certainly are way too many wag bags on the trail. I've seen as few as three and as many as 17 on one hike. The 17 were, as wbtravis pointed out, behind rocks.

Before my first hike of Mt Whitney, I told my buddy that he and his son would have to carry their poop. He said "are you kidding" and said he would just go without pooping and make sure he used the Portal facility before the hike. Well, as Whitney can do, his son actually had diarrhea, but my buddy told his son to use the wag bag. He also used his bag. I'm sure some of it came from KNOWING I told him it was what he was supposed to do. He still goes up with me and has no problem using the bags.

I was hiking with my buddy this weekend, and another friend of ours wants to hike Whitney. I told the guy that on Whitney, you have to carry your poop. He had the same look on his face and same reaction my first buddy had. The hiker who had had such a hard time with the rule (but followed it) on the first hike started telling our other friend how you need to be responsible with your poop on Mt Whitney.

The moral of the story is that a bit of peer pressure helps. I think the visitor center could do a better job of explaining the wag bags too. I know they tell you, but I think it would be helpful to stress how important the rules are, possibly explain mathematically in detail how many poops would be on the mountain if you didn't carry out, citations, etc.
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#11243 - 03/02/11 10:26 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Steve C]
Mike Condron Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
An idea:
A hefty deposit on your WAG bag. If you choose to not return it for your deposit, used or not, just leave it somewhere on the trail in sight. Somebody will return it for the hefty deposit.
I'm thinking hefty is $50-$75.

There are probably many devilish details.
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#11244 - 03/02/11 11:41 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Mike Condron]
Tomcat_rc Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Ridgecrest
Originally Posted By: Mike Condron
An idea:
A hefty deposit on your WAG bag. If you choose to not return it for your deposit, used or not, just leave it somewhere on the trail in sight. Somebody will return it for the hefty deposit.
I'm thinking hefty is $50-$75.

There are probably many devilish details.


Can you imagine the beauracracy costs trying to implement a program like that; let alone having a manned station for dropoff when you are trying to get back home after already having been awake for 15-25 hours.

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#11245 - 03/02/11 12:00 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Tomcat_rc]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: Tomcat_rc
Originally Posted By: Mike Condron
An idea:
A hefty deposit on your WAG bag. If you choose to not return it for your deposit, used or not, just leave it somewhere on the trail in sight. Somebody will return it for the hefty deposit.
I'm thinking hefty is $50-$75.

There are probably many devilish details.


Can you imagine the beauracracy costs trying to implement a program like that; let alone having a manned station for dropoff when you are trying to get back home after already having been awake for 15-25 hours.


I dunno, I'm thinking some enterprising young person might set up shop in the parking lot offering 50% of the deposit in cash and then taking the wag bags en masse to the formal dropoff zone down at the visitor center that only runs during normal business hours.

If the deposit was $40, then the Pooptreneur would make $20 per bag. Just 10 bags would net him $200.

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#11247 - 03/02/11 12:34 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: tdtz]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6884
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: tdtz
...then the Pooptreneur would make $20 per bag.

Didn't Archie Bunker call them "Entrapamanure" or "Entramanure"?

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#11248 - 03/02/11 01:23 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Steve C]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 926
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
I like the deposit for a deposit idea,
but implementation details...

Whitney's summit load on its final flight 2006. They took the load and the toilet that time. There were no WAG bags when we did the MR then, but on return 2010 I was pleased with how simple, easy to use, and well-planned the contents of the bag were.


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#11251 - 03/02/11 01:57 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Steve C]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I wonder if primitive man roaming the landscapes knew that one day he would be crapping in a bag and sticking it into his pack.
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#11254 - 03/02/11 02:37 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: RoguePhotonic]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2179
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
How it's done in OZ. Just step out of the car & visit the bog.

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#11257 - 03/02/11 03:20 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Harvey Lankford]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1474
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Well, I guess Harvey's picture answers THAT question.
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#11258 - 03/02/11 03:35 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1474
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Here's an idea: new definition of Vitamin I, just for the Whitney Zone: Imodium. Hand it out free at Crabtree and Portal. I don't plan to spend more than 24 hours in the Zone next time I'm there, and I'll bet a significant proportion of Whitney visitors don't either. Even higher % under 48 hours, which might be a reasonable period for a lot of folks.
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#11267 - 03/02/11 07:20 PM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: saltydog]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
My solution? Bring a pack animal. Yup, her pack got heavier as mine got lighter ..... (That's Trail Camp.)






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#11269 - 03/03/11 01:09 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Akichow]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1474
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
There is a certain poetic justice in the pup packin' your poop for a change, isn't there?


Edited by saltydog (03/03/11 01:11 AM)
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#11281 - 03/03/11 07:44 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Akichow]
Joel M. Baldwin Offline


Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Sacramento Ca USA
I like the little booties she's wearing! smile

It looks like she was having a grand time on that trip.


Edited by Joel M. Baldwin (03/03/11 07:46 AM)

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#11285 - 03/03/11 08:13 AM Re: Wilderness poop [Re: Joel M. Baldwin]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Yes, that's her doggie smile. And in her head, "Marmot? Marmot? Marmot!" She sent the marmots a-scattering as we pulled into camp.

And yes, she packs out her own, umm, deposits, too.

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