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#45836 - 04/19/16 07:42 PM Wag Bags
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
At the risk of generating a discussion on possibly a delicate subject I ask for clarification.

On a JMT discussion website one poster suggested that a wag bag is not required in the Whitney Zone. What am I missing?

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#45837 - 04/19/16 08:47 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I thought you'd never ask. (I think that was me on the JMT FB page, possibly the Yahoo group.)

Aaaaanyway. You may notice, if you look carefully at what Inyo says aboutthe Wag Bag, in its various publications, both paper and online, that they never use the word "required", as they do with things like permits and bear canisters. They say things like"the only acceptable method". That is not accidental or technical,it is because deep down in their administrative heart of hearts, they know they can't say required. As much as they would like to give the inpression otherwise. It is because the Wag Bag program was started by the personal , uh, initiative of then District Ranger Garry Oye without any authority whatsoever to do so. The same basis on which he burned down the composting toilets at Outpost and Trail Camp. No rule was ever passed, no Forest Order was ever issued. Now, this is not what Inyo or the Interagency Visitor Center will tell you, but ask them to cite chapter and verse (which requires both a CFR section AND a Forest Order) as to what they would write on the ticket or complaint issued to you should you defy the Wag Bag deal, and they will not be able to do it.


As far as I know. I issue this challenge about once a year, and so far, no one has has been able to answer the question: what would the ranger write on the ticket for a Wag Bag violation?

SO you might ask, why doesn't the Forest Superintendent just issue the damn Forest Order and make it legal?

Waaaaaaaaaalllll now that is because at the time Ranger Garry, uh, exercised his leadership skills, the Superintendent had already found that the project was subject to the National Environmental Policy Act "NEPA", and it was under environmental review, with a "preferred action" that did NOT include burning the latrines and imposing the WAG BAg deal. To make matters worse, Ranger Garry changed the draft environmental assessment, without any authority, without any record, on his own personal, uh, initiative, in other words, completely illegally. So the way I see it the environmental review is still legally pending, including the wag bag deal, and so it would be embarrassing at best to try to unscrew up the situation and highly illegal at worst to issue the order on the present record.

So no Forest Order has ever issued requiring the beloved Wag Bag, and all the Inyo material stops just short of saying it is required, although the Rangers will tell you, and probably in good faith believe, that it is. This page Right Here

says "All Mt. Whitney visitors are expected to pack-out their solid human waste."

So here is may annual Wag Bag challenge: can anyone identify, chapter and verse, any actual rule regulation and or Forest Order requiring either the WAG Bag specifically or packing out of human waste generally from the Whitney Zone? I think this is the 5th year of the Challenge.


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#45838 - 04/19/16 09:31 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
I see the American Alpine Club's video of Oye's presentation is no longer available. It was here:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/podcasts/exitstrategies2010/podcast.xml

Fortunately the Torching Whitney Toilets video is still available.

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#45842 - 04/19/16 10:49 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: saltydog
I thought you'd never ask. (I think that was me on the JMT FB page, possibly the Yahoo group.)



Yes, it was the Yahoo group. I read some of the regs in your link and came across an unrelated item - "Camping at Lone Pine Lake requires an overnight permit." I've got permits to enter at Kearsarge Pass and Trail Crest exit permits (finishing at the Portal). Does anyone know if I need additional permits if I want to camp at Lone Pine Lake on my way down?

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#45844 - 04/20/16 01:10 AM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2213
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
While we are giggling at bureaucratic clumsiness stupidity, let me tell you a true tale...

Back in the early '90s, My wife (now ex) was singing in a bar in Camarillo, CA, and I was her roadie, so I did spend some time in the Two Plus Two. Camarillo was a very early adopter to ban smoking in bars.

So one fine night, the local constabulary stormed into the bar and found half a dozen regulars ("barflies") propped up at the bar with "smoking gun" evidence in front of them.

As the city ordinance's ink was barely dry, the cop's official booking tickets did not yet have a check-box choice for "Smoking In A Bar".

So, occupying the moral high ground, the zealous Peelers checked off the "Jaywalking" offense box and made all the wretched miscreants sign the official "Notice To Appear".

Early afternoon the next day, the sober* barflies congregated, each on their usual bar stool, and discussed the predicament. A highly intelligent lady who cannot be named provided advice.

The upshot was that the barflies fronted up to the judge, and testified for each other that they were in a Bar, so they could not have possibly been out Jaywalking. Perfect alibis!

The judge (I'm sure with a private grin) dismissed all the matters.

Several years later, after I had moved to Fresno, I had occasion to be back in Cam Town. Went to the Two Plus Two and found each and every barfly on the usual bar stool, smoking away...

* Soon to be rectified.
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#45846 - 04/20/16 08:36 AM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Quote:
Does anyone know if I need additional permits if I want to camp at Lone Pine Lake on my way down?
Your entry permit is all you need to camp at Lone Pine Lake.


Talking about smoking guns...
I looked for the above mentioned WAG bag discussion on FB, and couldn't find it.
But I found this:
Originally Posted By: FB
Ryan Bieniek wrote: "Bob, I never had to use it, but my wife did. She found a nice hidden spot behind some boulders. And about a dozen WAG bags hiding too. Terrible."

Bob Shattuck wrote: "yeah, Whitney is pretty much pooed out--there are no secret "bet no one has ever climbed back into here" spots on the east side and if you're sitting around at Crabtree and bored as hell 'cause the views suck or something, go around and see how many rocks are flying the flag under 'em."
Rocks flying the flags to Garry Oye's legacy. mad

I talked to Seki ranger Rob at Crabtree two summers ago, and he said northbound hikers should bury their waste and not use a WAG bag, since there was no place to leave the bag until they exited many days north.

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#45853 - 04/20/16 03:25 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
"Your entry permit is all you need to camp at Lone Pine Lake."



I hear I may want to descend all the way to the Portal after camping for 4 nights and summittimg Mt Whitney. If I do that it probably will be too late to hitch to LP for my car, go back to the portal for the rest of my group and drive back to Reno.

Can we stay at those walk-in campsites right at the Portal? What are my chances of catching a ride to LP early the next morning?

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#45854 - 04/20/16 04:16 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Yeah, and how about them Giants?

Notice how quickly the subject is changed from this particular OP? Even people who ask about it don't want to talk about it. No wonder Inyo hasn't corrected their blunder in all these years.

Doubt it will be too late to hitch. Where are you planning on camping last? Many people summit from Guitar and get back the Portal waaay before the Store closes. When I did it I was offered a ride before I had half finished my bacon cheeseburger



Edited by saltydog (04/20/16 04:21 PM)
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#45860 - 04/20/16 06:21 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: saltydog


Notice how quickly the subject is changed from this particular OP? Even people who ask about it don't want to talk about it.



I guess you're referring to me.

I asked...you answered. That was good enough for me.

It seems I hijacked my own thread.

Next year I'll let you initiate your annual commentary.

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#45861 - 04/20/16 06:42 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Not complainin. And hey I went along with it didn't I? That was some killer beta about getting to the Wp store and a hitch from wherever you camp even if you summit on your last day. Oh, that does require an Alpine start, even from trail Camp.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#45865 - 04/21/16 12:31 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: RenoFrank]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: RenoFrank
"Your entry permit is all you need to camp at Lone Pine Lake."

I hear I may want to descend all the way to the Portal after camping for 4 nights and summittimg Mt Whitney. If I do that it probably will be too late to hitch to LP for my car, go back to the portal for the rest of my group and drive back to Reno.

Can we stay at those walk-in campsites right at the Portal? What are my chances of catching a ride to LP early the next morning?
Frank, I saw your question on fb, too. The answer is yes, of course you can camp in those walk-in sites. They are just that: available to anyone walking in and claiming one. If they are full (probably never happens, especially this summer with the parking restrictions), there are more below the main backpacker parking lot -- the Ravine camping area. Map here.

Oh yes, about those WAG bags...  wink   When you come off the trail in the evening, the first thing you will want to do is unload those WAG bags into the receptacles right by the restroom at the trailhead.

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#45869 - 04/21/16 01:37 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Online


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Steve C
The answer is yes, of course you can camp in those walk-in sites. They are just that: available to anyone walking in and claiming one. If they are full (probably never happens, especially this summer with the parking restrictions), there are more below the main backpacker parking lot -- the Ravine camping area.



I'm thinking if we hike that far down we may just camp at Lone Pine Lake. That is if we choose not to drive home that night. We've never camped or even walked over there. I have stayed at the Portal a couple of times. Plus we'd save the campsite fees.

Is it a nice place to camp? How about Outpost?

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#45872 - 04/21/16 04:19 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C


Oh yes, about those WAG bags...  wink   When you come off the trail in the evening, the first thing you will want to do is unload those WAG bags into the receptacles right by the restroom at the trailhead.


IF you happen to be carrying one cool
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Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#45873 - 04/21/16 04:25 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Originally Posted By: Steve C


Oh yes, about those WAG bags...  wink   When you come off the trail in the evening, the first thing you will want to do is unload those WAG bags into the receptacles right by the restroom at the trailhead.


IF you happen to be carrying one cool


BTW, if there are any Inyo rangers or admin staff following this, I would be more than happy to be proven wrong and shut up about this. If you stopped me on the trail without a WAG Bag, or more precisely, caught me leaving human waste without packing it out and wanted to ticket or arrest me, what provision would you cite?
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#45878 - 04/21/16 09:14 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
I dunno, Salty. They might be hard-pressed to find a code for any violation. I believe there are rules about depositing it properly -- you know, cat hole, 6" deep, etc etc. Are those rules codified anywhere? What about the national parks people telling everyone to pack out their used TP?

I do know from personal experience -- if you insult a LEO, a citation can result. I showed up in court, he didn't. Dismissed. But it was definitely a hassle.

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#45882 - 04/22/16 01:09 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Online


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1550
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
I dunno, Salty. They might be hard-pressed to find a code for any violation. I believe there are rules about depositing it properly -- you know, cat hole, 6" deep, etc etc. Are those rules codified anywhere? What about the national parks people telling everyone to pack out their used TP?

I do know from personal experience -- if you insult a LEO, a citation can result. I showed up in court, he didn't. Dismissed. But it was definitely a hassle.


Left TP for example is litter. Covered:

"Code of Federal Regulations
Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public PropertyVolume: 2Date: 2006-07-01Original Date: 2006-07-01Title: Section 261.11 - Sanitation.Context:
Title 36 - Parks, Forests, and Public Property. CHAPTER II - FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. PART 261 - PROHIBITIONS. Subpart A - General Prohibitions.

§ 261.11
Sanitation.
The following are prohibited:
(a) Depositing in any toilet, toilet vault, or plumbing fixture any substance which could damage or interfere with the operation or maintenance of the fixture.
(b) Possessing or leaving refuse, debris, 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.
[42 FR 2957, Jan. 14, 1977, as amended at 46 FR 33520, June 30, 1981]"

Leaving cache for 24 hours or more. Covered. CFR plus forest order or in Parks, Supervisor's Orders. Fire bans CFR authority and Forest Orders. Yep, they are all codified, except WAG Bag. Probably has CFR authority, but was never exercised through a Forest Order. Policies do not become enforceable rules just because Garry Oye orders the clerks to put certain language in Inyo. That LEO incident is a perfect example. I don't know what he wrote on your ticket, but I am pretty sure there is no rule against whatever you said, he knew it was a chicken ticket and didn't show so as to avoid embarrassment before the Magistrate.

In any event, in the 5 years I have been harping on this, no one - not Some Guy, no Inyo admin, no one has popped up to say uh, look at CFR such and such, Forest Order thus and so or anything even close. In fact, no one has even made the argument I would have expected first: "Look, it's on their web page". Nothing.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#46002 - 04/30/16 09:21 AM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1100
Loc: NorCal
Salty seems to be correct and unchallenged on the legality and history of what happened. Please do the right thing for the environment despite how frustrated we are about what happened.

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#46004 - 04/30/16 03:43 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7235
Loc: Fresno, CA
Salty, my LEO incident was before 1980, and was a CHP ticket.

SierraNevada, I will indeed to the right thing in the Whitney Zone. But I am still a bit puzzled with the § 261.11 words. a, b, c and e are pretty clear:
a: Don't plug the sewage system and don't throw garbage into a toilet.
b: Don't leave unburied excrement.
c: Keep it out and away from water.
e: hauling and dumping garbage anywhere but in provided containers and authorized dumps.

But (d) is curious:
(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.

Everywhere but Whitney Zone, Yosemite and Seki, people have been digging (apparently) authorized cat holes, and burying their poop and TP. Nobody has changed the rules on that.

But where and how did TP become something Yosemite and Seki hikers are required to carry out? For that matter, part d could be interpreted to mean that carrying out poop is also required. Or does a properly dug cat hole fall under "places provided for such purposes"?

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#46007 - 04/30/16 09:30 PM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1100
Loc: NorCal
These CFRs seem to be "catch all" language prohibiting litter of every type imaginable on all forest property. "Waste water" could be interpreted to mean you can't even pee on the ground, so its a broad brush regulation. This is not the same as a Forest Order requiring a hiker to pack out poop in a specific area. A Forest Order requires compliance with NEPA, and we know they did not complete the environmental review process.

I've always packed my TP until the first good chance to burn it. If I don't get a chance to burn it, I pack it out, no big deal to me. I've seen a lot of it buried with good intentions, but dug up by animals.

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#46008 - 05/01/16 12:22 AM Re: Wag Bags [Re: Steve C]
eje67 Offline


Registered: 07/09/14
Posts: 68
Loc: Los Angeles County
Originally Posted By: Steve C
For that matter, part d could be interpreted to mean that carrying out poop is also required. Or does a properly dug cat hole fall under "places provided for such purposes"?


Let me take a stab at making an argument that 36 CFR §261.11(d) provides authority for a district ranger to authorize receptacles for the deposit of human waste and, also, that one may be prosecuted for failing to dispose of human waste by depositing it into an authorized receptacle or by otherwise failing to remove the waste from the site or area. smile

In US v. Wasson an Oregon miner was prosecuted for storing feces in a bucket at his forest campsite. Both the district court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the miner violated §261.11(d) by failing to dispose of his waste either by removing it from the campsite, or by disposing of it in a receptacle provided for such purposes. The miner had notified the Forest Service via email that he would be disposing of campsite waste in a Porta-Potty, and worksite waste in cat holes; the district ranger responded via letter confirming/authorizing that arrangement. The miner however did not use a Porta-Potty for campsite waste but instead stored the waste in a bucket, which both the district and appellate courts decided was not a receptacle provided by the Forest Service for the purpose of waste disposal.

This particular case illustrates both that the Forest Service has authority under §261.11(d) to authorize receptacles for the disposal of human waste, and also that formal rule making and/or a forest order is not necessarily required to do that; here it was done via informal correspondence and agreement between the miner and the district ranger. The way the courts interpreted the regulation, the Forest Service would not have to "provide" the actual receptacles in the dictionary sense (no question that it could do that if it wanted to); the Forest Service could "provide" a receptacle for the purpose of waste disposal, e.g., Porta-Potty or cat hole, by agreeing to or authorizing the receptacle for that purpose.

I think this would answer both of the questions quoted at the top of this post. In the absence of a receptacle provided for the disposal of human waste, the waste must be "remov[ed] from the site or area."

Originally Posted By: 9th Circuit
The regulation thus requires a person to dispose of waste by either (1) removing it from “the site or area,” or (2) depositing it “into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes.”


And, the Forest Service is clearly authorized to "provide" receptacles for the purpose of disposal of waste, such as cat holes, Porta-Potties, etc., whether via agreement or by simply providing (in the standard dictionary sense) the receptacle in question.

It is reasonable to conclude from all this that the Forest Service has authority under §261.11(d) to provide/authorize wag bags as a receptacle for human waste in the Whitney Zone. There would also be (in my opinion) a pretty good argument that the Forest Service has express authority under §261.11(d) to do that and would not need a forest order. Would the Forest Service have to issue a forest order authorizing cat holes in wilderness areas as human waste receptacles, or to install a vault toilet along a trail?

But ultimately this is neither here nor there as it relates to the Whitney Zone, because even if a forest order is required to authorize human waste receptacles, and there is no such forest order designating wag bags -- or cat holes or any other receptacles for that matter -- then the default rule applies: human waste must be “removed from the area.” That is the only remaining lawful option. If you don’t remove your waste, you may be prosecuted under §261.11(d).

However the designation/provision of human waste receptacles must be made, the Forest Service could not legitimately say that wag bags are “required” because under §261.11(d) you are not prohibited from using some other method of removing your waste from the site or area. In other words, you could not be prosecuted for failing to use a wag bag (assuming it was a lawfully provided receptacle), but you could be prosecuted for failing to remove your human waste some other way.

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