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#37164 - 06/05/14 09:42 PM Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ???
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
I'm starting this thread with the intent to discuss the various options to the human waste problem on Mt Whitney. There will be a little intro, some background to explain how and why the current wag bag process was started, and the issues with the current system, however, the focus of the discussion should be the options that are now available and how to move forward. For readability purposes, I'm going to make a few posts with all this info.

To help keep everyone on topic there are going to be some "ground rules".

1. This thread is for brainstorming.
2. There are no bad ideas.
3. Opinions are fine, but be respectful.
4. Try to build off other ideas.
5. Be clear, concise, and constructive.

INTRODUCTION:
For anyone that is asking "What is a Wag Bag and why is there sooooo many discussions about them?" (WAG = Waste Alleviation and Gelling)
If you plan to hike Mt. Whitney, for better or worse (more on the side of worse) you will quickly become acquainted with the ubiquitous (much like an invasive species along the trail) object.

I like the little intro from http://www.mount-whitney.com regarding the WAG Bag:

Mt Whitney WAG Bag

As well as standard practices for leaving no trace, you must take even more heroic measures; the amount of human waste on Mt. Whitney had raised a big stink…




So, what goes up must come down. Along with your permits, you are issued a WAG BAG — a system for packing out your "waste". The bags can be obtained in Lone Pine at the Interagency Visitors Center and the Crabtree Ranger Station. The cost of the WAG bag is included in your $15 fee.
The WAG bag is a plastic bag with a urine-activated powder to encapsulate and deodorize solid waste. The waste is then contained in a zip-lock style bag to pack it down the mountain.
Keep your used WAG bag out of the sun, check the seal, and carry some extra plastic bags to double bag your , er, "stuff".


Now doesn't that all just sound so exciting when thinking about spending some time out on the trail.

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#37165 - 06/05/14 09:44 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
BACKGROUND:
Being the tallest peak in the lower 48, the demand to access this trail is similar Half Dome and other iconic hikes. About 17,000 hikers hit the trail each year after all is said and done with the lottery, reservations, cancellations, and walk-ins. That's the capacity of a typical sports arena and a lot of human waste to deal with over a 4-month season. Especially, once above treeline and the trail is all granite and hard surface. There is no place to dig a cathole to bury your waste.

Here's a link to 2004 Environmental Assessment, which has an excellent historical record of the problem.

As you can read in the EA, the intent was to replace the old toilets, which were about 20 years old. At this point in time, a new District Ranger arrived and hired a Ranger he worked with previously where they implemented a packout waste program using bags on Mt Shasta. Within a few years, the toilets were removed and a waste packout program was implemented on Mt Whitney. There was much "lively" conversation during this time about the process and other options.

It's important to understand the implications of what happened because it affects possible alternatives for change, which is the focus of this thread.

1. The environmental process (NEPA) was not completed. The Environmental Assesment was circulated for public comments, but there was no decision document to finalize the process. Therefore, no Forest Order can be written to legally require the use of a WAG Bag. It's a voluntary system, although it's not portrayed that way. So ideas that rely on law enforcement need to understand this.

2. The Whitney trail is mostly within the John Muir Wilderness. Maintaining or replacing existing structures that are required for resource protection, such as the old toilets, is done routinely even in Wilderness areas. But building new structures in the Wilderness is very controversial. There are exceptions to Wilderness regulations, but various groups tend to fight those exceptions in court.

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#37166 - 06/05/14 09:45 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
wazzu Offline


Registered: 06/20/10
Posts: 319
Loc: Orange County, CA
ISSUES WITH THE CURRENT SYSTEM:
People react in a variety of ways to packing their waste, but it's safe to say nobody actually likes to have more weight in their pack, especially this content. There's a temptation to leave a full bag on the trail and retrieve it on the way down. Some people just change their minds once the reality of the situation hits them and they ditch the bag. Others try to dig a cathole or just go on the rock. What makes or breaks this system is the level of compliance. Unless it's 100%, or very close to it, the effects are in plain site and smell.

So is the current system "working"? It depends on how much noncompliance you want to live with. It appears to be low enough to not have water quality issues. The large volume of snowmelt that flushes the system each year helps with that. You don't see big water quality issues in the High Sierra anyway from human waste, even in heavily used backpacking areas with a lot of catholes. If water quality issues start to occur, there will be a big push to reduce quotas, which is what some want all along. Toilets would be back on the table front and center because they provide proven environmental protection - but that requires new structures in the wilderness.

Sanitation is another big issue with carrying a bag of feces in a backpack. The outside of the bag can have "remnants" especially if it's used more that once. Repeated contamination can occur each time the bag is handled, and if you're eating trail mix or a sandwich, well you get the picture.

What do northbound thru-hikers do with their used bag? The next trash dumpster on the trail is about 100 miles away and several days of travel. Even someone doing a shorter hike may have to carry the bag for days. A few days of that can change the tune for camp sing-a-longs. A common solution is to empty the bag where a cathole can be dug and carry the out the empty bag. However, this introduces chemical gel into the wilderness.

The poor Rangers, having to go on endless WAG Bag "Search And Retrieve" missions. This doesn't look good on the job description for recruitment, or maybe they didn't know they were signing up for this. Probably not on their resume when they move on either. Is this how we want to spend scarce wilderness management dollars, or do Rangers have better things to do?

Then there are all those new people going into the "wilderness" for their first time on this popular trail. Who knows how many are being turned off by all of the above?

If you have read this far, THANK YOU for you time and interest in this subject. I hope a civil and respectful discussion on possible options to the wag bag system and how to get involved will now start. As stated at the beginning (if you can remember that far back), all ideas are welcome and participation in the discussion is encouraged.

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#37168 - 06/05/14 10:42 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
IDEAS FOR NEXT STEPS
Moving forward is a complicated process by any path. It involves technical, political, and possibly legal challenges. There has to be a motivation of some sort. The motivation may come as a water pollution issue, or from Rangers tired of picking up bags, or from a unified public, or from new management. The public seems divided on the issue and generally apathetic, but anything is possible.

To kick things off, here is a parital list of previously discussed solutions (no particular order):

- Do nothing and continue with current WAG Bag system as is.

- Lower quotas similar to other trails with catholes. Here's a link to Eastern Sierra trail quotas. Whitney current has 185 permits per day, but the average Inyo trail is about 15-30 per day. That's why some sort of waste management system is necessary. But the public demand for access to this peak exceeds the existing quota, which is why there's a lottery for permits, so lowering the quota would be like locking people out.

- Collection bins for WAG Bags. Use llamas or mules to pack them out.

- Solar toilets serviced by llamas or mules
. - One toilet at Outpost Camp, WAG Bags on Upper Trail
. - Solar toilets at both Outpost and Trail Camps

- A la carte solution.

- Fresh ideas.

Give this some thought, and share your ideas while keeping the ground rules in mind. This is not a scientific poll to gauge public sentiment, it's a brainstorming opportunity.

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#37169 - 06/05/14 10:45 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I think the rangers should hand out Immodium at the trailhead. If no one goes, there is no problem. No fuss, no mess. No toilets, no bags, no llamas. Simple, right?

wink

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#37181 - 06/06/14 08:49 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Hmmm...Immodium, took it once at Guitar Lake and still had problem all the way to the Hostel. I used the WAG more times in that one day than ever before or since.

Just saying.

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#37183 - 06/06/14 08:56 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...
Unfortunately, nothing can be done without an uproar from an established group with a bit of political power. Therefore, the question should how do you get a politically powerful group behind an effort to right this wrong. The obvious ones are the Sierra Club and the Chamber of Commerce, both of which I do not seeing doing anything because I do not see enough of their membership screaming bloody murder.

This problem must be solved before any wish list is established.

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#37186 - 06/06/14 10:50 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
Yury Offline


Registered: 06/11/11
Posts: 57
Loc: T.O.
Can somebody explain why previous discussions were so focused on solar toilets and llamas?
What are other options?
For example, why not to remove waste by helicopters?
Do you know how waste from Mt. Whitney summit toilet was removed?

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#37189 - 06/06/14 11:05 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
Steve Chamberlin Offline


Registered: 06/17/11
Posts: 55
Loc: California
While not a permanent solution, I think a good step forward would be a refundable deposit fee for WAG bags, similar to the deposit on cans and bottles. This wouldn't address the sanitary concerns, but it would help reduce the eyesore of bags left abandoned by the trailside. Some people would still litter, but others who didn't mind the yuck factor would pack out a few extra bags and help keep the trail clean in return for getting the deposit fees.

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#37193 - 06/06/14 11:50 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Yury]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Yury
Can somebody explain why previous discussions were so focused on solar toilets and llamas?
What are other options?
For example, why not to remove waste by helicopters?
Do you know how waste from Mt. Whitney summit toilet was removed?

Yury, solar and llamas are a proven solution at Rocky Mountain National Park. That solution has worked for decades, with weekly trips to remove the semi-dried waste. The presentation of that solution is documented here:   Exit Strategies Conference 2010 - Managing Human Waste in the Wild, specifically in the presentation by Joe Arnold, engineer at Rocky Mt NP:   Rocky Mountain National Park

The helicopter solution was used prior to the Whitney toilet removal, and deemed a failure by Inyo. They flew in/out twice a season, which meant managing an ever-growing bulk of waste for months. It exposed rangers repeatedly to the toilet mess.

The summit toilet itself was removed by helicopter, so I am assuming its contents were occasionally flown out in prior years.

Originally Posted By: Steve Chamberlin
While not a permanent solution, I think a good step forward would be a refundable deposit fee for WAG bags, similar to the deposit on cans and bottles. This wouldn't address the sanitary concerns, but it would help reduce the eyesore of bags left abandoned by the trailside. Some people would still litter, but others who didn't mind the yuck factor would pack out a few extra bags and help keep the trail clean in return for getting the deposit fees.

Steve, labeling WAG bags and WAG bag deposit/returns has been brought up repeatedly. It would certainly stop a lot of the bags being left along the trail, but I see several drawbacks:

1. It's still a WAG bag solution, something that I feel strongly is not a valid solution when there are better ones. Carrying a WAG bag is unpleasant and exposes thousands of hikers each year to bio-hazards.

2. The deposit/return idea would require a paid monitor to check-out and check-in the bags. Hikers come and go all 24 hours a day, so how and where would they access this WAG bag facility?

3. Since the WAG bag solution was not properly implemented, it is only a voluntary program. I don't think people can be forced to carry them, and certainly not forced to carry one with some identification attached.

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#37200 - 06/06/14 02:16 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
Steve Chamberlin Offline


Registered: 06/17/11
Posts: 55
Loc: California
Yup, I agree those are problems, but not insurmountable ones.

1. Agreed, refundable deposit fees would help the eyesore problem but not the sanitation one. It's not a perfect or a permanent solution, but it would still be an improvement over the status quo, while work continued on something more permanent.

2. This is the biggest challenge. The easiest answer would be to return the bags to the ranger station in Lone Pine. If you can't make it there during normal hours, you don't get your deposit fee back, sorry. Very few bottle recycling stations are open 24 hours either. Or maybe an automated solution would be possible with some kind of scanner to dumpster machine.

3. True, but I don't see this as a big concern. I wasn't thinking that the bags would have any kind of identification attached - in fact it's important that hikers be able to return anybody's bags and get the deposit fees to encourage clean-up. If a few people refuse to even carry WAG bags, that's a problem, but it's no worse than things already are.

I'm not arguing against some kind of toilet solution (llama or solar or otherwise), but that feels difficult to reach and probably years in the future. Why not try to improve the situation in the meantime, with a change that could be put into practice right now?

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#37204 - 06/06/14 05:46 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve Chamberlin
While not a permanent solution, I think a good step forward would be a refundable deposit fee for WAG bags, similar to the deposit on cans and bottles.


The deposit would have to be high enough to get 99.9% compliance. In my mind that makes somewhere in the neighborhood a few hundred dollars. That will never happen.

Next, when you walk off the trail at 9 PM and want to get in your car and head to beautiful downtown Fontana, who is going to be there to check in your WAG Bag? The visitors centers and ranger stations are manned mostly by volunteers throughout this country. I cannot see the forest service leaving someone in the visitor center 24/7 during the quota season, let alone during the rest of the year.

If some drags them down, they collect the deposit. This would call for a deposit that would motivate someone to put "hazardous waste" in their pack.

But it all goes back to points 1 and 2.

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#37206 - 06/06/14 06:29 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
There's no perfect solution, so any proposal can be easily criticized. Rather, let's build on ideas no matter how crazy they might seem, you never know where it will go. That's the spirit of brainstorming.

If you made it this far and you're not overwhelmed with information, check out this website - really good background information:

Remote Waste Management, US Forest Service, Technology and Development Program, 1995

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#37227 - 06/07/14 09:05 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Steve Chamberlin
While not a permanent solution, I think a good step forward would be a refundable deposit fee for WAG bags, similar to the deposit on cans and bottles. This wouldn't address the sanitary concerns, but it would help reduce the eyesore of bags left abandoned by the trailside. Some people would still litter, but others who didn't mind the yuck factor would pack out a few extra bags and help keep the trail clean in return for getting the deposit fees.

In the spirit of building on ideas, there could be a bar code scanner at the trailhead as you deposit the bag into the dumpster. You could have a pin number so they know who is returning the bag.

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#37239 - 06/08/14 09:35 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...
Brainstorming requires a proposal and response. Something that response is negative, sometimes it is positive. This proposal has been hashed out over the years and has been found by most to be unworkable...for the reasons both Steve and I stated.

Crazy does not get things done here. We are dealing with an trenched bureaucracy that will want a solution that does not make them uncomfortable. They are obviously comfortable with the WAG bag option.

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#37242 - 06/08/14 09:50 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,

Recently, there was a big stink about the gate being closed at Forest Falls-Vivian Creek Trailhead between 10 PM and 6 AM. The proposed solution to this problem by hikers was the purchase by a government entity strapped for cash an automated gate system with a PIN or giving permit holders key to the lock. The ultimate solution to this problem was the season changing and the caretaker leaving.

You are asking a government entity that high dependent on volunteers to do the work paid people should be doing to invest in technology for a problem they do not consider a problem.

Again, you need someone with political juice and workable solution for hikers and forest service. If you do not have the former having the latter is meaningless. You need to give the Sierra Club, as an example, a reason to champion your cause.

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#37244 - 06/08/14 11:42 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: wbtravis


You are asking a government entity that high dependent on volunteers to do the work paid people should be doing to invest in technology for a problem they do not consider a problem.

Again, you need someone with political juice and workable solution for hikers and forest service. If you do not have the former having the latter is meaningless. You need to give the Sierra Club, as an example, a reason to champion your cause.



These two statements illustrate the situation quite well, simply put, and it shows a firm understanding of the "what's in it for me" mentality that permeates all strata of this society.

One must understand the system -- and its limitations -- that must be navigated in terms of initiating change.....dreaded change.

Crazy ideas that do not consider the obstacles are just that: Crazy. They only demonstrate a lack of understanding of the system at hand, and again, the limitations of that sytem (finances/personell/litigation -- you name it). Not positive enough? No smiley face? (queue up the song High Hopes and visualize those little ants) It's called reality.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37249 - 06/08/14 09:18 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Seriously, here is my proposal. And my last post on this thread.

Keep the wag bags. And support their use by encouraging folks to use them and dispose of them properly. This board could be a powerful tool, if it chose to be so, to encourage responsible behavior viz the wag bags.

Just take this as a reminder that some of us (possibly even a silent majority?) don't find the wag bags a pain but instead a reasonable solution and therefore are not really into this topic.

Happy trails.

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#37250 - 06/08/14 10:22 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
You need to give the Sierra Club, as an example, a reason to champion your cause.

It's not "my cause" it goes way back before I ever got involved. I simply tried to piece the puzzle together and explain the environmental process that was aborted. Looks like the Torching Toilet video filled in the rest. I posted technical information about the viability of toilets. So that hardly qualifies as my cause.

BTW, I'm not really in favor of bar code scanners, just respectfully building on someone's idea. Brainstorming is a process that gathers ideas without judging them. Evaluating those ideas is a separate process.

In that same spirit, I support your idea to convince an environmental group there's a better solution than WAG bags. That would be very helpful, but it's probably not very likely to happen. Again, evaluating the idea should come later, it's a good idea.



Edited by SierraNevada (06/08/14 10:48 PM)

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#37255 - 06/09/14 02:29 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Brainstorming is a process that gathers ideas without judging them. Evaluating those ideas is a separate process.


I guess we like the abbreviated method at our morning round tables (at work). Ideas are put on the table and evaluated at the same time. Impractical ideas are recognised immediately, and tossed in favour of devoting time to viable options. We don't have time to worry about hurt feelings; a nonviable option is canned in the beginning to allow precious time to be devoted to realistic options.

Anyhow, I am not enough of a diplomat to continue on this vein, so I will leave it in the hands of those far more enlightened.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37258 - 06/09/14 07:12 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
I've participated in many professionally facilitated brainstorming sessions and that's always been the first rule to avoid shutting down creativity - don't judge ideas as they come up. List all ideas and keep moving. Often times a "crazy" idea spurs a better idea, and you break "out of the box." It's actually more time efficient to separate the idea generation process from the evaluation process.

It was optimistic to think this would work on a web forum, but it was worth a try to spur thinking "outside the bag."


Edited by SierraNevada (06/09/14 07:24 AM)

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#37262 - 06/09/14 08:57 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Akichow
Seriously, here is my proposal. And my last post on this thread.

Keep the wag bags. And support their use by encouraging folks to use them and dispose of them properly. This board could be a powerful tool, if it chose to be so, to encourage responsible behavior viz the wag bags.

Just take this as a reminder that some of us (possibly even a silent majority?) don't find the wag bags a pain but instead a reasonable solution and therefore are not really into this topic.

Happy trails.


Over the years there has been a push of Leave No Trace principles. We get a real high compliance rate but regularly, volunteers pull trash bags full of trash weekly off heavily traveled trails in SoCal.

Saturday, a group from Heart in Africa put a few hundred people on Mt. Baldy. Many could not find their way to the start of the trail without help. These are the same people who are going up Mt. Whitney every day. At the entrance of the Ski Hut Trail, there was a fresh banana peel. It was gone a few hours later when I returned, I doubt a WAG would have been picked up.

Narcissists will do what narcissists will do...that being whatever they want. After all, this is their own private Idaho.

The problem remains the past solution, education has not worked in 10 years. What makes you believe will in 10 more?

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#37263 - 06/09/14 09:06 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...
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
I've participated in many professionally facilitated brainstorming sessions and that's always been the first rule to avoid shutting down creativity - don't judge ideas as they come up. List all ideas and keep moving. Often times a "crazy" idea spurs a better idea, and you break "out of the box." It's actually more time efficient to separate the idea generation process from the evaluation process.

It was optimistic to think this would work on a web forum, but it was worth a try to spur thinking "outside the bag."


My brainstorming sessions have always been like Bee's. Ideas are floated and discussed, refined or disposed. They are within the same process not two separate processes.

I appreciate the work you have done detailing the process that got us to this place has not been followed to the determent to all who travel up and down the MMWT during quota season.

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#37264 - 06/09/14 09:10 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
It was optimistic to think this would work on a web forum, but it was worth a try to spur thinking "outside the bag."

That "outside the bag" metaphor "kind of stinks" wink don't you think? grin

We have seen several posts here stating that carrying a wag bag isn't so bad. I've seen reports of people carrying their feces in a bag for an entire trip--not on Whitney. I saw someone report people doing the entire JMT and packing it all out.

On the other hand, we have the public comments solicited in 2004 leading up to the halted process where the toilets were burned, where the public sentiment leaned heavily toward rebuilding the toilets that were in place.

I think there is a wide spectrum of opinions regarding wag bags, and I don't think we have a very good sampling of the hiking population here. First of all, only about 10% of Whitney hikers even visit this site. And then, only a small number of those actually sign up and post.

It would be quite helpful, I think, to put together a survey on a page that could be passed out to hikers and that they could return after a Whitney hike. It would be revealing to see what people experiencing the Whitney hike think after all is said and done. If a majority, or even a major fraction of people felt the wag bag situation was ok, then I would let this entire process rest. But a driving reason to continue supporting this topic and looking for more input is my gut feeling that a major portion of hikers would really like to see a change.


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#37268 - 06/09/14 10:12 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
My crazy idea if people feel strongly about it: Some civil disobedience. Someone haul up a collection bin for people to put WAG Bags. If hauling a bin is too problematic then a designated WAG Bag disposal site somewhere on the mountain---maybe at the site of the old toilets. Periodically post flyers explaining the civil disobedience program. Even if the collection bin is not properly maintained, would it be better than the alternative of discarded WAG Bags all over the trail?

By the way I am in favor of brainstorming and immediate discussion of the ideas. In a forum like this, people will lose interest and never move on to the next step if the crazy ideas aren't shot down right away.

Would people who otherwise believe in LNT be willing to participate in something like this which, at least in the short term, violates the LNT principles?

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#37270 - 06/09/14 10:39 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Interesting idea, Chicagowright. It might get the random bags off the main trail.

I'd like to know what your (and everyone else's) preference is for a long-term solution.

My preference is to have something similar to the RMNP system: rebuild the toilets using current technology, with llamas packing out the waste on a weekly basis.

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#37276 - 06/09/14 12:01 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
My preference is exactly as you stated---rebuilt toilets and pack outs. I'm just cynical that anything will change without something forcing a decision and then worst case, in my opinion, is a decision that cuts access and reduces permits.

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#37289 - 06/09/14 05:40 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Chicagocwright
My crazy idea if people feel strongly about it: Some civil disobedience. Someone haul up a collection bin for people to put WAG Bags. If hauling a bin is too problematic then a designated WAG Bag disposal site somewhere on the mountain---maybe at the site of the old toilets. Periodically post flyers explaining the civil disobedience program. Even if the collection bin is not properly maintained, would it be better than the alternative of discarded WAG Bags all over the trail?

By the way I am in favor of brainstorming and immediate discussion of the ideas. In a forum like this, people will lose interest and never move on to the next step if the crazy ideas aren't shot down right away.

Would people who otherwise believe in LNT be willing to participate in something like this which, at least in the short term, violates the LNT principles?

If you insist, I'll evaluate your idea immediately. I concur with your own assessment (word #2), it's crazy. Not the concept of civil disobedience, it seems appropriate for people to make a statement after being called "the stupidest people on the planet," but leaving bags on the mountain, I can't support that part.


Edited by SierraNevada (06/09/14 05:54 PM)

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#37291 - 06/09/14 05:56 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Just going with the flow, Bee. We both posted at exactly 5:54 (mine was an edit to the previous post).


Edited by SierraNevada (06/09/14 06:02 PM)

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#37293 - 06/09/14 06:05 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Fair enough -- I removed my posts because they were no longer relevent after your edit.
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37296 - 06/09/14 09:06 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada

If you insist, I'll evaluate your idea immediately. I concur with your own assessment (word #2), it's crazy. Not the concept of civil disobedience, it seems appropriate for people to make a statement after being called "the stupidest people on the planet," but leaving bags on the mountain, I can't support that part.


If you leaving your WAG bag in a specific area caused others to leave their WAG Bag in the same area instead of scattered, is it still crazy?

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#37297 - 06/09/14 09:24 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Here is something that happened locally:

When the cutbacks went deep, the local parks left the waste cans and asked picnic'ers to monitor their own waste by groups (someone in the family takes the hefty bag with them) or if volunteers would please take a bag now and then to keep a build-up from occuring. It worked for a very short period until the hefty bag in the can filled up.....and overflowed. The park turned into a dump, and eventually the city had to call a waste management team to clean up the place (at a higher price than I bet it would have been to keep at least one worker)

In the case of the 'volunteer' wag bag managers, I would place a bet that the first time someone smelled what more than one wag bag smelled like + flies et al...they would run screaming in the night. Eventually, the waste would overflow and turn into a bio hazzard, which the taxpayers would have to foot the bill to clean up (complete with suits)

A huge concentration of bags would surely multiply (as the monkey-see-monkey-doo-doo folks would add to the overflowing pile)this would be worse than the scattered mess left on the mountain at present.
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#37298 - 06/09/14 09:39 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
However, it is not a crazy idea if there were an authorized collection station, and a dude and two llamas coming up the trail every day to haul it out. This is, in fact, a possible first step solution.

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#37300 - 06/09/14 10:25 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Chicagocwright
If you leaving your WAG bag in a specific area caused others to leave their WAG Bag in the same area instead of scattered, is it still crazy?

If it got all the bags off the trail, and started a collection system, then maybe it's not crazy. It seems more likely that people will just leave more bags all over the mountain.

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#37308 - 06/10/14 08:12 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Chicagocwright
My crazy idea if people feel strongly about it: Some civil disobedience.

* * *

Even if the collection bin is not properly maintained, would it be better than the alternative of discarded WAG Bags all over the trail?

By the way I am in favor of brainstorming and immediate discussion of the ideas. In a forum like this, people will lose interest and never move on to the next step if the crazy ideas aren't shot down right away.

Would people who otherwise believe in LNT be willing to participate in something like this which, at least in the short term, violates the LNT principles?


The problem with leaving full wag bags or unauthorized containers is that it violates a perfectly acceptable and necessary regulation: no littering. It does not focus on the provision being protested.

Here's a civil disobedience idea that does not violate LNT and does focus on the problem: do not carry the wag bag. Do not use the wag bag. Once on the trail, let it be known that you are not carrying a wag bag. I don't see anything anywhere suggesting that it is required to carry a wag bag, only that you pack out your waste. And that is not a rule, only a policy. What will the ticket for not carrying your wag bag cite as a violation?

This also means that for a true CD action, you must not pack out your waste. That means, the ranger has to witness you leaving your waste behind. Deposit your waste according to proper backcountry practices: away from water, 6 inches deep, pack out the TP. Be meticulous in your habits, and invite the ranger to witness them. Even then, what is the ranger going to cite you for? There is no regulation requiring you to either use or carry a wag bag. The only prohibition is on leaving the wag bag behind, and that's a legitimate reg.




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#37310 - 06/10/14 08:34 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: saltydog]
Krishna Offline


Registered: 04/15/11
Posts: 101
Loc: Woodridge, IL, USA
I always wonder, why this is not a problem in Grand Canyon? The toilettes at one and half mile, three mile, Indian Gardens, Cotton wood CG and BA CG are all working fine and probably with more traffic than on Mt. Whitney - the ranger said roughly 10000 people go into the canyon every year! So just go back to keeping one next to the hut (as it used to be in 1992), one at Trail camp and one at Outpost camp.

Personally, immodium works fine for me!

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#37311 - 06/10/14 08:45 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


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

To go a large enough sample, why not poll the lottery applicants?

I'm sure many do not know there is a WAG bag program, as many do not have a clue of what they are getting themselves into. It would be good to get as many noobs into this survey as possible.

I believe it is the one and doners who cause most of the WAG bag related problems.

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#37312 - 06/10/14 08:55 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Civil disobedience...hmmmm...this had come to mean I create a fuss but I don't deserve to be fined or jailed for this fuss because my cause is righteous.

With that said, you will be asking seasonal rangers and volunteers to clean up your mess. I do not see where that helps the cause of getting a workable waste management system on this mountain. You are working to get the Forest Service your side, not alienate them or the local volunteers that this mountain is dependent on.

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#37316 - 06/10/14 10:23 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
I believe the biggest question with my "proposal" is whether or not it would create the desired outcome of concentrating the scattered WAG Bags into one area. Frankly I think the answer is probably not. The only thing it might do is stir up a hornet's nest which could result in a desired outcome or could result in reduced permits overall or a bunch of fined litterers.

But how bad is this problem? I've been on the Trail 3/4 times now and have never seen a discarded WAG Bag. I typically carry a plastic bag in my pack to pick up trash I see along any trail but I would skip discarded WAG Bags. I appreciate the thought of trying to align with the Forest Service as allies but I just don't think anything will ever happen. Just how bad is the problem and how big of a fuss is needed to solve the problem. I'm an outsider and don't know.

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#37318 - 06/10/14 12:04 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Chicagocwright]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: Chicagocwright
But how bad is this problem? I've been on the Trail 3/4 times now and have never seen a discarded WAG Bag.


Not sure what time of the year your trips up the MT have been, but the problem is most obvious/odious in mid-to-late summer when the sheer number of hikers has taken its toll. Four trips up the mountain for me, all in July and August, and the problem has been very evident each time. I've seen them liberally discarded at Trail Crest, Mirror Lake, BH Park, the two camps, Trailside Meadow, along the trail - hell, I even saw one in the summit hut. Trail Camp is the worst, especially just beyond the most-utilized campsites - by late summer it's basically a ghetto. If you look closely next time as you're cresting the trail to Trail Camp, there's a natural rock cavity to the right - maybe 15-20 feet off-trail, as I recall. I've seen as many as 100 used WBs in there, along with other assorted trash. I've been told this is where the rangers centrally stash trash they've found discarded in/around Trail Camp till it can (hopefully) be packed out. Or washed out in the spring melt - I'm not sure.

FWIW, last year a ranger stopped us around LPL (going down) for a permit check. He also asked to see our WBs, which we produced. Missed my opportunity to see what would happen if we said we had none . . .

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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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#37468 - 06/15/14 05:24 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 212
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
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.
...

It is a common technique to limit the spread of damage in heavily used areas.

So what is your point? Are you saying you like that and want it for the MMWT?

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#37478 - 06/16/14 09:01 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, you are so defensive. I was just pointing out your mistake and cited a few examples.

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#37480 - 06/16/14 11:27 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
QITNL Offline


Registered: 03/03/11
Posts: 26
Loc: CA
I think the simplest option would be reduced quotas. If some people continue to act irresponsibly and others make a big stink about it, it's probably the most likely option, too.

It definitely worked on Half Dome, which like Whitney is little more than a trophy to some. I wouldn't expect those folks to have any respect for the mountains.

Quotas could be reduced by a merit system.

To qualify for an overnight permit in the Whitney Zone, for instance, the applicant must previously complete an overnight trip elsewhere in the Inyo/SEKI area.

This would:
1) Weed out the trophy hunters, reduce accidents
2) Disperse traffic to other trailheads, giving hikers a greater appreciation of the Sierra
3) Once you are in the system, the rangers have your info and history at their fingertips and you don't hold up the line

Dayhiking permits could be reduced by the number of discarded wag bags.

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#37484 - 06/16/14 12:23 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: QITNL]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
dbd and wbt: Please review the ground rules in the first post of this thread.

QITNL: I cringe when I see any suggestion of reducing quotas. Wbt has mentioned getting "politically powerful environmental activist groups" involved, and there, too, I fear their response will be the same as your suggestion.

The Half Dome situation, in fact, is the reason I have terminated my membership in the Sierra Club. The SC at the state level supported cutting the numbers so drastically on Half Dome without even trying to evaluate other methods to enhance the safety. I have always felt that twice as many Half Dome hikers could be accommodated if they would issue time-sensitive permits, where (some) hikers have to pass the checkpoint before 10 AM or after 2 PM (or something like that).

Every time I see the call to reduce numbers, I see an exclusive attitude, such as "those once-and-done types don't deserve to hike in my territory". In the Half Dome situation, they were called the flip-flop Disneyland hikers, and similar terms.

I would put reducing quotas at the bottom of the list of options, about the same level as requiring Wag bags. Locking people out of the wilderness is a good way to get less and less support for National Parks and National Forests.

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#37494 - 06/16/14 03:47 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: QITNL]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
@QITNL:
Yeah, it's not like these are "public lands". Why let anyone at all in? If we kept everybody out that would have the smallest impact possible and preserve the land for future generations to not see.

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#37538 - 06/17/14 10:24 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


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

If I'm not mistaken, reducing quotas was one of the options way back when. Before I would reduce quotas, I would make all backpacking trips start at trailheads other Whitney Portal. This certainly would reduce impact on the MMWT and assign camping area for the exiting hikers utilizing Trail Camp, Consultation Lake, Outpost Camp and Lone Pine Lake. This would spread the impact out a bit more than now where most camp at Trail Camp. Also, many will just exit rather than camp on the east side of the crest...only time I have camped on this east while exiting was when one in our party sprained an ankle.

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#37563 - 06/17/14 06:25 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Reducing quotas will always be an option to solve everything. I love the quote from above, "lock it up to preserve it for the next generation not to enjoy."

The next generation can climb the peak on their Playstation, shoot a few zombies on the way, use their toilet at home. Problem solved. How simple is that?

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#37579 - 06/17/14 11:51 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
A new low reported by "Joe the Hiker" in Post 37561:

"The trail camp draw had WAG bags in the water"
...and this:

"Couldn't find a nice spot at Trail Camp to protect us from the wind. Found one nice spot, but it smelled of human excrement."

From "Daves not here": "Lots of wag bags just dumped on trail from just before Trail Camp all the way up to a mile short of the summit. We spotted over 50 between me and my partner."

From Mauricio, 6/25/14:
"The only unfortunate thing was the very high amount of wag bags left over, pretty much everywhere. Most of them on Trail Camp, but we saw a few on the switchbacks, and farther up the trail, beyond the JMT junction."


Edited by Steve C (06/25/14 08:30 PM)

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#37590 - 06/18/14 09:12 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Steve C
A new low reported by "Joe the Hiker" in Post 37561:

"The trail camp draw had WAG bags in the water"
...and this:

"Couldn't find a nice spot at Trail Camp to protect us from the wind. Found one nice spot, but it smelled of human excrement."

From "Daves not here": " Lots of wag bags just dumped on trail from just before Trail Camp all the way up to a mile short of the summit. We spotted over 50 between me and my partner."


And it is only June.

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#37595 - 06/18/14 11:37 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
Good thing they got rid of those toilets. They were such an eyesore and an environmental hazard.

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#37645 - 06/19/14 03:48 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: 2Old4This]
Steve Chamberlin Offline


Registered: 06/17/11
Posts: 55
Loc: California
OK, nobody liked my suggestion of a refundable deposit fee on the WAG bags, so how about this (originally suggested by Daves Not Here, not sure if he was kidding)

Print a unique serial number on every WAG bag. Write down everyone's WAG bag number when they pick up their permit. Then if a ranger finds abandoned WAG bags on the trail, he can look up whose bag it was, and send them a ticket for a $1000 fine.

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#37652 - 06/19/14 06:40 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve Chamberlin]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Steve Chamberlin
Then if a ranger finds abandoned WAG bags on the trail, he can look up whose bag it was, and send them a ticket for a $1000 fine.

Write a $1,000 fine based on what authority? There has to be a law to write a citation. That would be a Forest Order under National Forest Service jurisdiction. A Forest Order requires compliance with NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act). Oppps, this great environmentally "friendly" solution of WAG Bags was implemented without finishing that pesky environmental process. Sorry. No Forest Order. It's a "voluntary" program. You just don't have any other choice, but it's "voluntary".

The details are in this video Torching Toilets

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#37655 - 06/19/14 07:24 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
IF there is is one thing that I have learned from the different threads on the toilets: Implimenting any ideas/change involves a complicated process.

Does the same process apply to the dreaded lowering the quotas of persona allowed in a given area? (hold the vitriol about keeping the much maligned "flip flop" crowd out of their forest, folks -- I am posing this query to understand the process)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37656 - 06/19/14 07:44 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Bee
IF there is is one thing that I have learned from the different threads on the toilets: Implimenting any ideas/change involves a complicated process.

Does the same process apply to the dreaded lowering the quotas of persona allowed in a given area? (hold the vitriol about keeping the much maligned "flip flop" crowd out of their forest, folks -- I am posing this query to understand the process)

Bee, by "process" are you referring to the "environmental review process" (NEPA)? Technically, it may apply to lowering quotas because there would be economic impacts to the local community and impacts to hikers who will be denied the chance to climb the highest peak in the lower 48. Hikers are unorganized and will do whatever they are told (except for a few groups who seem to support low quotas), but the local businesses could sue if NEPA was ignored and they were excluded from the decision making process.

Changing trailhead quotas is usually done through some sort of wilderness management plan, which is updated from time to time. NEPA is the framework for these efforts - the intent being to include the public in the decision making process. Watch for the upcoming SEKI Wilderness Stewardship Plan for example. That's going to be interesting.

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#37659 - 06/19/14 08:40 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Yes, I could not remember the name of the Environmental Review Process.

Just a prediction, here: if the easiest solution to a growing problem is lowering the quotas, that will probably be the one chosen. (again, I am not sure who, how, or when such decisions are made, but I would bet that the idea has been kicked around)
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37662 - 06/19/14 10:02 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Bee]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Woe is me. Inadvertently opened this thread that I've been studiously avoiding, and just had to go and compound my error by reading the last entries.

Okay, here is a thought and some info before I go bye bye again.

Leave no trace principles are something that I think many ascribe to because they are the right thing to do. I wish I saw more support for them on this board.

They are also, in some respects, backed by law. The following apply in national forests, for example.

Statute: 36 CFR 261.11 Sanitation
The following are prohibited:
(b) Possessing or leaving refuse, debris, or or litter in an exposed or unsanitary condition.
(c) Placing in or near a stream, lake, or other water any substance which does or may pollute a stream, lake, or other water.
(d) Failing to dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, bottle, sewage, waste water, or material, or rubbish either by removal from the site or area or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes.
(e) Dumping of any refuse, debris, trash or litter brought as such from private property or from land occupied under permit, except, where a container, dump or similar facility has been provided and is identified as such, to receive trash generated from private lands or lands occupied under permit.
Statute: National Forests (36 C.F.R. part 200), National Grasslands (36 C.F.R. part 213), National Recreation Areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service (36 C.F.R. part 292), and National Wild and Scenic River System areas within Forests Service Jurisdiction (36 C.F.R. part 297)


Penalty: Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $500 and/or imprisoned for not more than six months. Under Title 18, maximum fine is $10,000 for companies and $5,000 for individuals.

Source: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/criminal-provisions-us-criminal-code-title-18-and-other-statutes

Bye bye.


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#37669 - 06/19/14 11:30 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7739
Loc: Fresno, CA
Glad Karin checked back in. She does make a valid point. Steve Chamberlin's idea could indeed warrant a $500 fine. Putting unique identification on a Wag Bag might help in the short term by coercing people to carry them out. Leaving one behind is just plain littering, whether it is used or unused.

As for changing quotas: Maybe this was under the same District Ranger. A few years ago, Inyo did in fact apply day use restrictions to the North Fork (Mountaineers Route) unilaterally, without any notice or request for public input. In fact, it was one of the WPSMB Group Hikes that was cited as a reason that numbers of people needed to be limited.

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#37674 - 06/20/14 05:56 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Littering is a different citation, and of course that would apply to WAG bags just like potato chip bags. I suspect more people would just not use the WAG bag at all. Others would simply remove the label.

Legal enforcement of WAG Bags bothers me personally because of the arrogant way it was forced onto the public with a rush to torch the toilets. They should have followed the process through to the end and left options available.

If labels were to be used, I think the incentive approach would be more effective to motivate people. Charge a deposit and get a refund. That would encourage people to pick up bags. The idea of a bar code scanner at the trail head dumpster was mentioned. This doesn't solve the other issues with carrying human waste, but it might be an improvement on the current system. I suspect some people will be willing to forfeit the deposit rather than carry the bag out.

Funny, but the toilet system on Long's Peak RMNP doesn't seem to generate any discussion that I can find. The system seems to work just fine.

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#37675 - 06/20/14 06:01 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Akichow]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Akichow
Woe is me. Inadvertently opened this thread that I've been studiously avoiding, and just had to go and compound my error by reading the last entries.

Okay, here is a thought and some info before I go bye bye again.

Thanks for your input, Akichow. All perspectives add value to the discussion.

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#37676 - 06/20/14 07:02 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 135
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Charge a deposit and get a refund. That would encourage people to pick up bags.


I like that idea best of all. If the deposit was in the $5-10 range, then it would provide enough incentive for others to go up and collect the waste.

As for bags, I didn't see 50, but I did see over 10. And yes, in early June.

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#37677 - 06/20/14 07:03 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
I had second thoughts about following up on the legalistic side of burning toilets, so I deleted my post to avoid the controversy while I'm off climbing Shasta this weekend.


Edited by SierraNevada (06/20/14 07:18 AM)

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#37682 - 06/20/14 08:20 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,

In another forum, someone claimed they saw someone ticketed for not having a WAG Bag while on the MMWT. If they can ticket for not having one...than can serialize and fine. Who needs to adhere to no stinking NEPA.

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#37813 - 06/23/14 07:08 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
In another forum, someone claimed they saw someone ticketed for not having a WAG Bag while on the MMWT. If they can ticket for not having one...than can serialize and fine.

If you're referring to the JMT Yahoo group, the report was they were "turned back" for not having a WAG Bag, but no mention of being ticketed. Several reports of Rangers asking to see WAG Bags. I'm not a lawyer, but this seems like a search to me. I doubt if that would hold up in court for a system that has no legal basis to begin with. They're betting that people aren't going to drive back to fight it, so Rangers are basically cop, judge, and jury.

What a job they've taken on for themselves, "Your papers please, and do you have a bag of human excrement with you? Never mind, I can smell it. You are free to proceed."

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#37815 - 06/23/14 07:42 AM 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
"Your papers please, and do you have a bag of human excrement with you? Never mind, I can smell it. You are free to proceed."


could be a takeoff on a (formerly illegal) maryjane joke

I have used a WAG bag several times. Properly used it does not smell, either that or mine doesn't stink. Left out for a few days, that's different.

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#37823 - 06/23/14 10:02 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,

It was not the group you mentioned. It was specifically on the MMWT.

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#37900 - 06/24/14 12:09 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wbtravis]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
WB, can you post or PM the forum where you saw that report. That's a very interesting development to follow.

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#37911 - 06/24/14 03:32 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I'd be very interested in seeing such a ticket. Known as a "federal notice of violation", it will have a little space marked "Offense charged" with check boxes marked "CFR" "USC" and "State Violation". Just like a traffic ticket, they require the issuer to cite chapter and verse of the violation in question, in this case either to the Federal Code of Regulations (CFR) the United States Code (USC) or the state law.

Its actually a constitutional requirement; since the ticket is in effect a summons to court, a "notice of violation", you have the right to know exactly what you are being charged with violating. There is an important difference between violating an erroneous statement on a web page and violating an actual law. And the fact remains, Inyo has no actual law (rule, regulation, forest order) requiring either carrying or using a wag bag.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#37914 - 06/24/14 03:59 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Harvey Lankford]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford

I have used a WAG bag several times. Properly used it does not smell, either that or mine doesn't stink. Left out for a few days, that's different.

I just did Shasta this weekend where they make their own poop bags. They used to put kiddie litter in a paper bag with a target and a thick ziplock, now it was some kind of cedar sawdust and one cheap plastic ziplock. Let me tell you, Harvey, even yours would smell through that system.

I did my dooty in a rock hideaway just below the summit, where I discovered a big pile of sh!t and bags of poop popping out of the snow. It was difficult to set my target down around that crap, which made me more exposed to others on the summit. I hope I didn't show up hunched over in the background of someone's summit photo. I'm cringing at the thought of an Instagram face recognition notice, "you were tagged"

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#37924 - 06/24/14 07:37 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: Harvey Lankford

I have used a WAG bag several times. Properly used it does not smell, either that or mine doesn't stink. Left out for a few days, that's different.

I just did Shasta this weekend where they make their own poop bags. They used to put kiddie litter in a paper bag with a target and a thick ziplock, now it was some kind of cedar sawdust and one cheap plastic ziplock. Let me tell you, Harvey, even yours would smell through that system.

I did my dooty in a rock hideaway just below the summit, where I discovered a big pile of sh!t and bags of poop popping out of the snow. It was difficult to set my target down around that crap, which made me more exposed to others on the summit. I hope I didn't show up hunched over in the background of someone's summit photo. I'm cringing at the thought of an Instagram face recognition notice, "you were tagged"


Sounds like a great system at Shasta. Seriously: DIY wag bags? Who is the genius who instituted THAT program?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#37932 - 06/24/14 09:22 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Same 2 who instituted it on Whitney. But I tend to agree with pack out on Shasta for a couple reasons.

1. They also have a nice composting toilet at Horse Camp (8,000 ft) run by the Sierra Club. So people have an option to camp with a toilet.

2. The other camp area is Helen Lake (10,000 ft), which is covered in snow during peak climbing season. Only a helicopter could service a toilet at Helen Lake during peak season. It's too much cost and risk to use helicopters on a regular basis. So the toilets would end up just holding waste like the old ones on Whitney that were serviced with helicopters.

Since people have a choice, and toilets would be very difficult to maintain on the upper mountain, I think the pack out system is appropriate on Shasta. But it's not a one-size-fits-all solution for everywhere. Toilets make perfect sense on Whitney. Leave it to a good engineer, sanitary workers, and a few popular llamas. The Rangers have better things to do than pick up sh!t bags and hassle people over this.

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#37936 - 06/24/14 11:19 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1565
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
OK , but the DIY bags? What does the real WAG bag cost, a dollar?
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#37946 - 06/25/14 08:20 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: saltydog
OK , but the DIY bags? What does the real WAG bag cost, a dollar?

Good point, Salty, a genuine WAG Bag or RestStop bag would be small fraction of the $20 Shasta summit fee. It makes you wonder where the fee money is going on both Shasta and Whitney.

DIY waste bags should at least use top quality materials like freezer-bag ziplocks and gel. Sawdust is lighter than kitty litter, but the gel in the commercial bags would be the best. A reasonable gel should be available in bulk somewhere if they want to keep making these.

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#37953 - 06/25/14 09:33 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,

I wish I could give you that information. It was most likely here or the facebook whitney group.

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#37967 - 06/25/14 12:47 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: wazzu]
Mauricio Offline


Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
First, a disclaimer: I have not read the five pages of posts on this topic.

I hiked Mt Whitney yesterday, with my daughter, and was dismayed to see THAT many wag bags, pretty much EVERYWHERE!

It seems like someone has already suggested to serialize the bags, and I'd like to adhere to that idea. It occurred to me that if the bags have a serial number, with a barcode, and that number is attached to the permit, then when said bag is found, the owner of the permit gets a hefty fine. I really think that if you know you'll be fined a couple of thousand dollars for leaving a wag bag behind, we'll see no more of them.

I've also been to Mt Shasta, five times, although only one through the most popular route, Avalanche Gulch. I've still to see one abandoned bag over there. I'm sure there must be some at any given time, but the amount of bags that we saw from Trail Camp on up, was just overwhelming.

Mauricio

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#37984 - 06/25/14 07:18 PM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: Mauricio]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Mauricio, to get you up to speed on those 5 other pages and other loooong threads on this topic, people are leaving bags on the trail on the way up, and many of them are picked up on the way down, but not all of them. Nice wilderness experience.

Although these people could be cited for littering, there is no legal requirement to have or use a WAG Bag, so there's no citation to issue. Reason being, they aborted the environmental review process midstream, which means they can't issue a Forest Order, which requires a completed environmental review process. The details are in this video,

I just did Shasta this weekend, east side route, 12 people all weekend on the back side. I did find some crap just below the summit, but I agree, compliance has been good on my five climbs - three of those were on the crowded avy gulch route. I think it sinks in more when you're mountaineering on snow. It's obvious that you can't bury it and there's no way to get a toilet on those steep slopes. If people do leave a bag, its probably hidden in the rocks.


Edited by SierraNevada (06/25/14 07:24 PM)

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#38004 - 06/26/14 07:20 AM Re: Whitney Waste Solutions: WAG bags, toilets, or ??? [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1145
Loc: NorCal
Summarizing the "solutions" intent of this thread, only a handful of ideas have surfaced for discussion:

- Do nothing
- Install collection bins
- Replace the torched toilets
- Penalize non-compliance by tracking bags
- Create an incentive for compliance using a deposit
- Various combinations and iterations of above

What am I missing?

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