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  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    John, let me tell you why I feel as I do.

    For over 30 years, I've done parts of the Bruce Trail, which runs from Niagara Falls (Ontario) to Tobermory, at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, which is the headquarters for Bruce National Park, and a town with the largest concentration of shipwrecks (in water that is so clear you can see 100 feet down) on the Great Lakes and, perhaps, the world. The last 70 miles of "The Bruce" are among the most beautiful trail miles in eastern North America, as it runs alongside of Georgian Bay, a hugely clear and wondrous body of water off of Lake Huron. The "Niagara Escarpment" here is wildly challenging, rising from water level to hundreds of feet above the shore, and it is home to a vast amount of fascinating animal and plant life; thousand-year old cedars along it led the United Nations to name it a UNESCO Biosphere. The trail itself is Canada's oldest marked trail, and in many ways it was inspired by the AT, being surveyed in the early 60s. It is a grand place, and those who have walked it consider it a special and very beloved place. In that, it is akin to the affection most of us feel for the AT.

    Yet for many years much of The Bruce was on private lands, and people who hiked it often had little or no understanding of LNT concepts, even the most rudimentary. Of course, in the 60s and even into the 90s, there were no formal campsites on most of the peninsular sections, much less privies. Yet as campsites became established in scenic locations, they became heavily used. As that happened, "latrine areas" became informally sited. Yet, as with much of the AT, The Bruce is rocky, with only shallow soils where campsites are most common. And those latrine areas - as sometimes exists along the AT now - became massive litter areas, with toilet paper and feces uncovered by rain, by animals, or simply imperfectly buried, if at all. Worse yet, they were often close to water sources (including the Bay), makign water dangerous to drink, and they were highly visible (and often stinking, as well). As a result, in the '90s, as the trail (in that 70 mile stretch)became controlled as a National Park, the park simply did what it had to: It closed most of those campsites, making it extremely difficult to 'thru hike' the most wonderful section of the entire trail. In short, since the hiking public did not clean up after itself, Parks Canada simply eliminated those areas from being used. It's gone. You can't camp at many of those places now, and not at all in the gorgeous stretch from Cypress Lake to Tobermory. Gone. Forever.

    That result already exists along the AT in places, such as GSMNP where backcountry camping is forbidden except at shelters, which have privies (and, you'll note, even those are mostly composting ones or ones which do not enter the ground system). If we're not careful, the AT - which is subject to the control of the NPS, in conjunction with the ATC and other state/federal agencies - are going to do the same thing, sooner or later, to the AT as Parks Canada has done to The Bruce, and, in fact, as the NPS has already done in a number of national parks: Require "blue bagging" or even forbid backcountry camping other than in sites with privies.

    This could be avoided. Not by saying, "We have a right to leave tons of thousands of pounds of human fecal matter along the Appalachian Trail every year," or by saying, "Build more composting privies" in an era when we're luck if parks stay open at all (most California parks will be closed this month, it appears, for budgetary reasons). It's avoidable by realizing that this is a real problem, and looking for ways to solve it before we get told, "No more stealth camping. Camp in allowed campsites only. Permits required." That's what Parks Canada did. And it was the right decision, and I hate it.

    I don't want that, and while my ideas may not be the best ones (and I'm open to any that are better), they confront a real problem and provide a real answer. "Do nothing" isn't a good answer here.

    So while I respect how you - and others, obviously - feel about this, and how you may (and do) disagree with my solution (easy though it is), I hope that you and others will take a moment to realize that The Bruce isn't as wonderful a thru hike as it once was. It didn't have to change. But the hiking community did nothing, and so it was changed for us.

    TW
    That is a problem, as are the privies on the AT. However, when faced with a problem most solutions are a matter of slight change in behavior, yet many seem compelled to go to the opposite extreme side of the spectrum, such as the case with packing out crap.

    Theres absolutely no reason to pack out TP and leave crap; TP is designed to quickly degrade, its designed to degrade quickly so as not to clogged septic systems.

    Fossilized crap has nothing to do with burying crap and TP on the AT.

    Your little blue plastic bags will be around a lot longer than anything left on the AT.

    Paper in a desert has nothing to do with burying crap and TP on the AT. (BTW, I agree paper will last longer in a dry environment, but disagree that paper in the desert will last centuries, but not going to debate that one). BUT, if it were, so what? What is it hurting? I use woodchips as mulch, thats basically paper, is that hurting the earth?

    Ive seen the "mine fields" in GSMNP and imagine its similar to what you saw on the Bruce Trail. It is ugly and disgusting, but it does not hurt the environment, takes a lot more to hurt this earth than that. If people want to use those areas I have no problem with that, but I wont, Ill just walk off the trail and do my business, NEVER had a problem finding a virgin spot. And I have skipped a majority of privies for the same reason, they are ugly and I dont want to be near them, but I aint packing see just a slight change in behavior and all is good.

  2. #82
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    "A bag of kitty litter." To pack out solid waste, you need about 1/4 cup of litter per day.

    "The smell...drawing flies." With cat litter used, there will be no smell or way to draw flies, even if you didn't keep the paper bag and contents in a larger ziploc bag.

    But even packing out TP makes a huge difference: Weight? Negligible. Disgusting? Put it in a bag.

    "[It] takes a lot more to hurt this earth than that." John, we're closing in on the irreversible limit of hurting "this earth." It's time to stop saying, "One little bit more won't hurt." It does. Our kids' kids will pay for it. And wonder why we didn't do more.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  3. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    "A bag of kitty litter." To pack out solid waste, you need about 1/4 cup of litter per day.

    "The smell...drawing flies." With cat litter used, there will be no smell or way to draw flies, even if you didn't keep the paper bag and contents in a larger ziploc bag.

    But even packing out TP makes a huge difference: Weight? Negligible. Disgusting? Put it in a bag.

    "[It] takes a lot more to hurt this earth than that." John, we're closing in on the irreversible limit of hurting "this earth." It's time to stop saying, "One little bit more won't hurt." It does. Our kids' kids will pay for it. And wonder why we didn't do more.

    TW
    "Won't hurt the Earth," is a valid argument. There is nothing that humans can do that will irreversibly damage the planet. We may change life as we know it, we may cause our own extinction, but we will never destroy the earth.

    Hell, we're not even the most important species living on the planet right now. We're only self important. Can you guess the most important species?

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    Quote Originally Posted by saimyoji View Post
    "

    Hell, we're not even the most important species living on the planet right now. We're only self important. Can you guess the most important species?
    The aliens from Gorgon?

  5. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    ... Our kids' kids will pay for it. And wonder why we didn't do more.

    TW
    Another mindless quote of the media.

    Go ahead and keep listenting to the brainwashers.


    BTW, I'm not anti-environmentalist, it's an important cause - not to save to earth, but for our own sake. I'm just anti-extremist. Life requires balance, not a zealot approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    Another mindless quote of the media.

    Go ahead and keep listenting to the brainwashers.


    BTW, I'm not anti-environmentalist, it's an important cause - not to save to earth, but for our own sake. I'm just anti-extremist. Life requires balance, not a zealot approach.
    Not every disagreement with you, John, is from zealots, and not every opinion you don't like is "brainwashing" from "the media". Me, I use my brain as much as you, probably, and maybe occasionally you.

    I pay for the environmental mistakes of my grandparents every day of my life. My mother died from lung cancer and related pulmonary problems that her physicians agreed was likely caused by the air - usually colored pink or red - in Niagara Falls, NY and North Tonawanda, NY in the early part of the 20th Century, as well as living close by Love Canal and being, equally certainly, close to ground based toxins. In those days - even now - many people defended environmentally bad decisions as incremental, made up by the media - Upton Sinclair was a favorite whipping boy - and necessary. As a result, Rachel Carson was, for many years, called a "zealot." Perhaps if people had tried, in, say, 1905, to clean up the air in Western New York (and downwind of Gary, or Shreveport, or any of the other horrendous locations), I wouldn't have been orphaned.

    And I also pay for the environmental mistakes of my grandparents' and parents' generations when I can't fish for muskelunge in Lake St. Clair, near Detroit, the largest freshwater fish in the world. Or when the Salmon fishery in Northern California is closed to private fishermen and commercial alike, due to environmental errors 75 years ago. Or when I face water rationing - as I now have to live with - because of how Los Angeles has screwed up water conservation since the '30s. ("Chinatown", anyone?)

    That's not zealotry, as much as you wish to put my concerns down by an insult, and it's not brainwashing, and it's not "from the media." Those are, as the phrase now goes, "facts on the ground."

    Is TP and waste burying of that magnitude? I don't know. I do know that it is an easily avoidable problem, that it is sufficiently serious that the National Park Service requires composting privies in GSMNP and others, and that incremental protection of our environment prevents cascading problems that can become tragic in 50 or 100 years.

    So if you disagree, fine. Don't call names; it's beneath you. But I don't want the AT - or any trail - destroyed or degraded when such a result is avoidable with little effort and virtually no cost. If you don't care that much, I'm not going to force you. But the day is likely to come - is has arrived in many places already - when others will, and you will then, perhaps say, "Could we have avoided these rules; could we have avoided these problems?"

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  7. #87

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    people have been pooping off the AT for years... and it is still there, imagine that... take your crap elsewhere if you like, but i am crapping in the woods along the AT... and saving the world from 1000-year half life blue plastic bag carrying evangelists... that is from the 1000-year plastics, not the evangelists, someone else can take care of them

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    people have been pooping off the AT for years... and it is still there, imagine that... take your crap elsewhere if you like, but i am crapping in the woods along the AT... and saving the world from 1000-year half life blue plastic bag carrying evangelists... that is from the 1000-year plastics, not the evangelists, someone else can take care of them
    TinMan:

    The blue bags are disposed of in waste stations, with their contents. They are then put through the sewage treatment system along with other such extraneous materials. Yes, people have "pooped" on the AT for years. We have also polluted our air and rivers and oceans for years, and yes, they are still there, too. But we are paying, and will pay, the price for not having stopped the pollution sooner. Imagine that.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

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    pollution=bad
    poolution=not so bad

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    I just wish that everyone practiced LNT. Human waste does need to be packed out in certain types of arid/rocky areas... and especially in high impact locations. In other environments, such as the AT... catholes should be adequate, but due to heavily trafficked areas (and often laziness/ignorance) you occasionally encounter human waste. Which sucks. I have walked literally a foot away from where I was eating and sleeping and found human waste. Not too sanitary!

    I pack out my TP because of multiple reasons:
    1. I often just use leaves.
    2. TP takes up an extremely minimal amount of space.
    3. The smell isn't that bad - it's contained.
    4. I've encountered other people's waste often enough that even though I do dig a proper cathole, the possibility of it not decomposing or being dug up by animals does bother me. So I dispose of it separately. The same goes for tampons. Tampons do NOT decompose quickly.
    5. I used to nanny. Changing all of those poop-filled diapers made me realize human waste is not a big deal. So it looks and smells gross. Deal. So it's unsanitary... practice proper hygiene!

    40% of the world's population does not have access to a toilet/sanitary waste disposal on a daily basis... and that also means a majority of that percentage does not use toilet paper. And yet hikers on this forum freak out over carrying a sealed plastic baggie of TP and declare it unacceptable. I don't get it. As far as the plastic bag itself goes... I think it is safe to assume that almost every hiker is carrying their trash in a plastic bag. I try to reuse bags as much as possible. We need to accept the fact that our waste does indeed accumulate and that it can impact the environment. What's not to like about LNT? It's simply an attempt to preserve an environment as it was before modern civilization traipsed through. You can't compare an animal defecating in its natural environment to hikers disposing of human waste. It is an entirely different matter for humans to bring manufactured disposable materials into a previously untouched environment and discard them there. Telling ourselves that it's biodegradable is not enough.

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    When I come off the trail, if I'm in a State/National Park or similar that has a developed campground, there is ALWAYS a sanitary disposal station. Other times, if I'm not far from home, I take it home and flush it down the toilet if it's just from a day or two. If the volume is greater, I'll stop at a private campground or trailer facility (sometimes truck stops have them too) and use their sanitary disposal facility. Usually adds about 5 minutes to my trips. No one has ever turned me down yet.

    Weight/amount is usually about half the original due to the drying that the cat litter provides. No smell, either, again thanks to the cat litter.

    TW
    Dude I'm not trying to argue with you on this..but it weightng less because the kitty litter dried it makes no sense. Sorry. That water goes somewhere and if it is locked in the kitty litter conservation of mass dictates that the kittly litter now weighs more than it did when it was dry. If it was put into the bag and nothing left the bag then it is still in the bag. If it weighs less then something has left the bag...hopefully its just water
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    Beaker --

    Although carrying out urine does not now seem practical, urine has its own unique dangers to the environment. While almost always sterile (assuming that there is no UTI), it can carry a host of pharmaceutical residues which can leach into groundwater or flowing water. That's why it's just as essential that urination be at least 200 feet from water sources, too.

    While most soils in the AT get more water than the SW, that's a relative thing. Feces may not decompose in the days/weeks/few months that many people think it does, even in moist areas, for a lot of reasons. But principally, toilet paper isn't going to necessarily decompose quickly; the Bruce Trail hugs the Georgian Bay shoreline, and gets as much or more precipitation as the AT, and I've seen "paper mache rocks" - the rocks in toilet zones near campsites, when that was allowed (no longer, in Bruce Natl Park, but it is, along the AT), with paper that had made it through several years of getting more and more affixed to boulders.

    As for carrying capacity, do a thought experiment: If (random example of a shelter that I don't recall having a privy) Abingdon Gap Shelter, in Tennessee, gets, say, 1500 thrus a year, and maybe another 1500 visit it annually, and you assume one pound of human solid waste per camper/night, that's 3,000 pounds - a ton and a half - each year in that location. That's going to have major effects on the ecology of that immediate area, not all of which are beneficial and all of which are avoidable. (This is similar to the reason why I don't buy Mexican tomatoes and rinse my fruits and vegetables with some care. California spinach, anyone?)

    These are easily and simply avoidable problems.

    TW
    That is an extreme version of my point. I think the soils around the AT are at or above teh carrying capacity for the poo and TP. I'd bet that back in the day when there were fewer hikers it was not as much of a problem.

    I know all about the urine and phracuticals. My dad was never a healthy man during my life time but we went camping a lot. He took tons of meds for everything from heart conditions to pain meds. He would step off into the trees and water the lillies...well more times than not the lillies died. Sad but true. Again you and I are in agreement in principle. I'm sure there are certain areas around shelters and such that folks just step over too and pop hte cork on. I'd bet if someone were to do a studyon it many folks pick the same exact tree or bush. That type of nitrogen loading can't be good for a plant.
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

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    IMO the problem with poo on the AT has nothing to do with all the scientific jibber jabber going on for over 90 post and five pages. People poo at inappropriate places and they do not bury thier poo properly. It ain't science, it's common sense.
    If you want to help solve the problem all you have to do is go far away from shelters and campsites. Go to some random place off a hundred or even two hundred feet off the trail. Pick a spot where no one would ever think to put a tent.
    There are lots of folks here at WB that will hate to here this, but, makeing a cat hole with the heel of your shoe doesn't work and is the main cause for exposed TP and waste. Folks who don't want to carry a trowel and dig a real hole that is a minimum of 6 inchs deep (preferably a bit deeper), but instead kick up a shallow depression with the heel of thier trailrunner and cover thier waste with a few kicks of loose soil and leaves are the bad guys.
    Not complicated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TD55 View Post
    If you want to help solve the problem all you have to do is go far away from shelters and campsites. Go to some random place off a hundred or even two hundred feet off the trail. Pick a spot where no one would ever think to put a tent.Not complicated.
    TD55 I agree with this, but there are some high use areas where even this might not work. I've been composting for too long to not think that most of the tp and poop will just go to organic matter in the soil if you get out there far enough. But those that go just behind the shelter...that's what's going to cause a rule change if we're not careful.

    If everyone would go out away from the trail, I think there's plenty of room. If my math is even close, there's probably 90,000 acres of trail area within a 400' corridor (200' each side) of the AT. That's enough poop room for 90,000 people to have an acre all to themselves each year. Dat's a lot a room. Yeah, I know there are probably a lot more people than 90,000 people hitting the AT each year, but I use it only one week per year and I have lots of room left in my acre. Its all about pooping well away from the trail and making sure its covered well. If we can't do that, I'm afraid we're going to see more restrictions in the future, with good reason. On the Colorado River, you gots to blue bag. I agree with TM, it could become a problem so we better get this figured out or someone else is going to figure it out for us (and we may not like the solution). But, I still don't want to carry no cat litter!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TD55 View Post
    pollution=bad
    poolution=not so bad
    That made me laugh out loud. Did you think of that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowhoe View Post
    That made me laugh out loud. Did you think of that?
    Yes, all by myself, but I didn't trademark of copyright it.

  17. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
    TinMan:

    The blue bags are disposed of in waste stations, with their contents. They are then put through the sewage treatment system along with other such extraneous materials. Yes, people have "pooped" on the AT for years. We have also polluted our air and rivers and oceans for years, and yes, they are still there, too. But we are paying, and will pay, the price for not having stopped the pollution sooner. Imagine that.

    TW
    are blue bags eco-friendly? support your more plastic is good argument, if you would care to enlighten us. also, besides your claims of seeing 'ancient' toilet paper, support your argument that it has harmed the environment like pcbs, oil spills, medical waste, etc has mucked up our rivers and oceans. trying to draw a parallel here just proves you have no argument. and trying to suggest i am not concerned with real environmental issues is disingenous, at best, but, no worries, i don't take offense. anyway, no need to address this, at least for my benefit, i won't be listening, i am going offline for a few days to do a little field work on this non-issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pyroman53 View Post
    TD55 I agree with this, but there are some high use areas where even this might not work. I've been composting for too long to not think that most of the tp and poop will just go to organic matter in the soil if you get out there far enough. But those that go just behind the shelter...that's what's going to cause a rule change if we're not careful.

    If everyone would go out away from the trail, I think there's plenty of room. If my math is even close, there's probably 90,000 acres of trail area within a 400' corridor (200' each side) of the AT. That's enough poop room for 90,000 people to have an acre all to themselves each year. Dat's a lot a room. Yeah, I know there are probably a lot more people than 90,000 people hitting the AT each year, but I use it only one week per year and I have lots of room left in my acre. Its all about pooping well away from the trail and making sure its covered well. If we can't do that, I'm afraid we're going to see more restrictions in the future, with good reason. On the Colorado River, you gots to blue bag. I agree with TM, it could become a problem so we better get this figured out or someone else is going to figure it out for us (and we may not like the solution). But, I still don't want to carry no cat litter!!!

    You and TD55 both make valid arguments about carrying capacity. There is a lot of land on either side of the trail if people just walk more than 20 feet off the trail.

    However, and I'm not trying to convert you--heck I'm not a convert but TW does have me thinking about this issue a little more than I would have--but anyway I know there are sections of the AT that are very heavily used and others that only see thru hikers or those serious seciotn hikers that are trying to do the entire trail. Knowing that your math becomes somewhat faulty for those heavily used sections.

    Like I said I'm not really argueing against your point it is on it's face still valid it jsut needs to be recalculated for the heavey use areas. I don't think there are any TP gardens sprouting on the less used sections are there? It's been about 10 years since I hiked any section of the AT so I'm a little out of date on usages and such.
    Take almost nothing I say seriously--if it seems to make no sense what so ever it's probably meant as a joke....but do treat your water!

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    I'll use the privy and stay away from the ridges....I promise.

    Can't believe you all like talking about poo this much Cya in a week...probly be locked down by then


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    The Park Service, in its report, Appalachian Trail Vital Signs Technical Report NPS/NER/NRTR--2005/026, a report detailing data collection needs along the AT...states

    "inferences can be made from several studies that have measured visitor impacts along certain sections of the Appalachian Trail, such as the sections of the AT that pass through Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee and the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Soil erosion, campsite proliferation, and adverse effects of poor
    sanitation appear to be the most significant challenges facing AT managers."

    It also states, "Human waste management has been another perennial challenge for Appalachian Trail managers. In some instances, poor sanitation management has led to direct and indirect contamination of water sources. Increased attention to this issue by AT managers during the last decade has resulted in substantial improvements."

    So, obviously, it could become a BIG issue for users of the AT. I'm on the fence. I'm not planning on carrying any poop anytime soon. I do appreciate that it is an issue, at least in some high-use areas. I also concede that it is an issue that warrants some thought and discussion.

    I gotta hand it to those on this thread. Good arguments on both sides. Not too much flamin or blowing it off. Amazing, especially given the subject. My wife thinks we're all nuts!


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