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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: 1137
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: 1251
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: 1251
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: 7584
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: 7584
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: 1137
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: 1137
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.
_________________________
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.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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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: 7584
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: 1137
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: 1559
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.




_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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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: 1251
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: 1251
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: 1254
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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