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#37319 - 06/10/14 12:49 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bulldog34]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
Sigh, glad I didn't look harder. But it makes my "idea" not sound so radical. Almost sounds like a piece of the idea may already be happening anyway---a cache of WAG Bags at Trail Camp. If the cache was publicized, then could it possibility decrease the scattered litter? (or just increase the amount there...)

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#37323 - 06/10/14 04:04 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
My take is that compliance on Whitney with the WB program will never be high, regardless of whatever incentive/punishment is used. While a certain percentage of the folks climbing MW are backcountry enthusiasts with a wilderness ethic, the lure of that highest-in-the-lower-48 brass ring brings a lot of inexperienced one-and-doners to the party. They're seeking a bragging-right, don't plan to be back, and frankly don't give a crap about the mountain (pun intended).

I suspect that's what the comment re Whitney having the world's stupidest hikers is really about. And I can't say that's misplaced. I've done a significant amount of hiking in the Rockies, Sierra, and Cascades, and you just don't see anywhere else the kind of continual, unrelenting idiocy and irresponsibility that manifests itself on Whitney year in and year out.

But, just one dude's opinion . . .

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#37327 - 06/10/14 08:03 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
WB: CD certainly does NOT mean that I deserve not to be jailed: it is a moral strategy, not a legal defense. See Gandhi's address to the court in his trail of March 18, 1922. Thoreau willingly went to jail for not paying his taxes. I also happen to think that there is a perfect legal defense - i.e. there can be no violation of a non-existent rule - but that is almost beside the point: one has to be willing to face the consequences in case the Magistrate decides there IS a rule: CD itself is NOT a legal defense.

And it should NOT create anything for the ranger to clean up. that would involve violation of a perfectly legitimate rule which none of us wish to see violated: littering, disposal of trash. That is a reg that non of us which to see violated.

What I am proposing is far more simple and direct. Don't carry the Wag Bag. Poop in the woods, but do it correctly. Be prepared to go to court and NOT argue that it is a dumb rule that shouldn't be enforced. Be prepared to argue that the rule does not exist. And not because I say so: but because you have researched it, or hired a lawyer to research it.


Edited by saltydog (06/10/14 08:11 PM)
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#37331 - 06/11/14 05:49 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 90
Loc: CT
A wag bag collection 'bin' at Trail and Outpost wouldn't really be a 'structure' (would it?) A bin might not need an exception to the language in the Wilderness Act. Then perhaps use llamas to pack the bags out.

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#37335 - 06/11/14 08:00 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: saltydog]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SD, It is not you, it is what CD has become...an act without consequences. Who cares about Thoreau or Ghandi...how did that Occupy Wall Street nonsense workout? It did not play well in fly over country...and that is majority of this country. People like punishment for criminal acts, not those acts continuing on television weeks at a time. You will get more done working within than working without.

Those patrolling the trails are seasonal rangers and volunteers, not law enforcement. I don't see your point of saying...see hole in the ground, tp in the this here Glad ziplock bag. The only thing that can happen here is the radio back and maybe a sworn ranger meets you at Whitney Portal...maybe. How exactly does this help?

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#37336 - 06/11/14 08:03 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Marty]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Marty,

This has always made sense to me because many are "once-and-doners" here.

I would not even mind an environmental fee tacked onto the permit for cost of removal. Although, I'm sure many would.

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#37338 - 06/11/14 09:57 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 544
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Some years ago I was returning from Half Dome and on my way over to the river to filter water when I passed by the toilets at Little Yosemite Valley. Well before nearing the toilets the stench became almost unbearable. After rounding the toilets (giving them good distance), I observed an individual “mucking” the contents of the toilets into smaller containers. Without question it was not a pleasant job, and I cannot imagine anyone wanting (or even willing) to do it. It could be no wonder that the rangers were happy to see the toilets at Outpost and Trail Camps burned down. However, with hind sight, we now know that simply burning the toilets down without a well thought out “plan B” was an unfortunate oversight.

Now, it seems to me, that the concept of strategically placed “sealable” barrels along the trail has great merit.
- It would eliminate the need for anyone to actually “handle” the waste, as was the case at Little Yosemite Valley.
- It would likely eliminate the need (or sharply reduce it) to police the trail for WAG bags. This assumes that hikers were aware or informed of these “depositories” when picking up their permits. My “guess” is that most hikers (including the “once and done”) would embrace this concept. They would still need to use the WAG bags, but no longer need to tote them the length of the trail.
- The total amount of waste removed from the trail is likely no more than what was removed using the old toilets. Newer designs might be more efficient and eliminate some of the liquids, but with WAG bags I guess most hikes just find a private place to urinate (only use the WAG bag for #2), so not as much liquid left in the toilets.
- Removal of the “sealable” barrels is much easier than the old toilets, so cost is certainly no more than the old model.

So, what is needed? My guess is that in order for this to happen someone needs to do the work for the NPS. By which I mean:
- Calculate the cost of providing this type of service:
- Cost of llamas
- Cost of “sealable” barrels.
- Operational cost of hauling empty barrels up, and full barrels down the trail
- Determination of what to do with the waste after collection and at what cost
- Etc, etc, etc………….
- Identifying someone that actually wants to go into this “business” (not me, but perhaps one of the packer outfits).
- And then, submit an unsolicited proposal to the NPS.
- Of course doing some appropriate “lobbying” prior to submittal would be needed.

I would guess that there are communities within the NPS that would find favor with this solution. For instance, I think the Rangers would be very supportive of this. I doubt they wish to continue to police the trail for WAG bags, and all that entails.

Anyway, my $.02.

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#37339 - 06/11/14 10:41 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: John Sims]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
John: Not only was all of that work done for the EA that Oye trashed, but there is no need for the maintenance job to be so bad. The RMNP system uses water separation, drying and composting and the actual handling is about ten minutes per service. The Yos toilets I think are about the same generation that the TC ones were, and there is lots better available now.
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#37340 - 06/11/14 10:47 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
WB: It can help in two ways. One: non-cooperation with a hopelessly flawed system points up the practical need for a better system. Two: establishng that the current system is not supported by regulation points up the legal need for a new system. Tough for the current DR and Supervisor to ignore.
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#37372 - 06/12/14 07:05 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Some pros and cons come to mind with the collection bin system. It would make "pack out" truly voluntary. It would get bags off the trail. If someone does leave a bag around, it would be easier to deal with.

On the down side, the weight and volume of bags would be about twice as much as the waste from a toilet system. The bins would require helicopter removal. Or bags could be loaded by hand onto llamas. Helicopters should be a last resort due to the safety risk, noise, and cost.

There was an entire show about "Dirty Jobs" that people do behind the scenes of our civilization, hosted by Mike Rowe. One of those jobs was plucking down feathers, so should we not use down sleeping bags? Some sanitary worker out there would be fine with a job hiking with llamas up the Whitney trail every week to clean out toilets or haul out bags. There should be no need to have Rangers involved.

The toilets at LYV are composting toilets. They might be old, but they were working fine every time I've been there. No noticeable smell during normal operation, but it's still a "Dirty Job" to deal with the waste, which is hauled out on mule trains.

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#37379 - 06/12/14 08:27 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
> The bins would require helicopter removal. Or bags could be loaded by hand onto llamas.

If the bins were actually 40 lb boxes or cannisters ready to be loaded onto llamas, no bag-handling would be required. Un-dehydrated bags might weigh more, but llamas are cheap. I think this would be a great interim solution.

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#37388 - 06/12/14 09:19 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
SN,

Mr. Oye did not want to his people handling...his words, hazardous waste. I have always felt this was a strawman argument. We have people cleaning public bathrooms by the thousands in this country every day without any problems. He made it sound like they were being asked to clean up the Nevada Test Site without any safety gear. This issue is easily solved by hiring in a contractor. I'm sure if it were put out to bid there would be more than a few companies in the Eastern Sierra willing to do this.

Tag on an environmental fee to each permit issued to pay for it.

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#37398 - 06/12/14 01:01 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

Mr. Oye did not want to his people handling...his words, hazardous waste.

But when it comes to putting 20,000 WAG Bags into a landfill instead of a treatment plant, then it's no longer "hazardous waste." Just dump it.

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#37404 - 06/12/14 03:23 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1023
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

Mr. Oye did not want to his people handling...his words, hazardous waste.

But when it comes to putting 20,000 WAG Bags into a landfill instead of a treatment plant, then it's no longer "hazardous waste." Just dump it.

I wonder if this happened in India, the handlers still would be considered Untouchables?

Sorry, it's raining here.

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#37409 - 06/12/14 05:55 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
You trekking there, Harvey?

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#37434 - 06/13/14 11:16 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
I was just up yesterday, and I went with my usual option on long day hikes like this. I didn't feel any need to deficate. Something about the elevation or the exertion or ???. Lucky me. However, I did see six WAG bags left baking in the sun along the trail and 2 more "hidden." Seems to me that the WAG bags are not a good solution. If I saw that many without even looking for them, how many are there in total?

I don't see a need for a new solution when the park service already has a solution that is working in other locations, it's called a solar toilet. Yes, I know that the idea of a solar toilet on Whitney is anathema, but that is the best solution whether the Park Service recognizes it or not.

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#37440 - 06/13/14 05:48 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: 2Old4This]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 212
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: 2Old4This
...
Yes, I know that the idea of a solar toilet on Whitney is anathema, but that is the best solution whether the Park Service recognizes it or not.


Anathema to some, not to others, therein lies the rub. How do you suggest we move on from here to get to where we have solar toilets? That's the problem we need to solve.

Perhaps part of the problem is that the Park Service is not involved. The Forest Service has a different charter, budget and set of employees. Not that the rest of the usual Park Service implementation of backcountry camping would be considered acceptable by all here, for example, the fixed number and locations of designated campsites where designated sites are the only locations that can be used as campsites.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#37442 - 06/13/14 08:28 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 90
Loc: CT
wbtravis,

It is a simple 'quick and dirty solution' (drop off bins at Outpost and Trail camps)and I agree with you that a small fee added to one's permit could pay for it while we wait for a more permanent solution.

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#37446 - 06/14/14 07:50 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Marty]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
I was up Whitney a few days ago and noticed wag bags stashed/left everywhere, including one within a few feet of the pond/little lake at Trail Camp where most get a supply of water.

As for FS vs. PS staff handling human waste - I was in the Mt Shasta Ranger Station yesterday, and people were talking about their sore arms. When I inquired, was told staff had just rec'd Hep B shots to help guard against that strain while handling WAG bags. They use a home-grown version of WAG bags, unlike Whitney.

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#37460 - 06/15/14 11:19 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: dbd]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Dale,

As we SoCal backpackers know, the forest service fixes where you can camp in San Gorgonio Wilderness as does the State Park in Mt. San Jacinto State Wilderness Park. If they can do it there, they can do it anywhere.

Yes, the rub is getting a solution that is accepted by the general public, forest service and politically powerful environmental activist groups. Without the latter this will never happen.

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