Go wild, leave the toilet paper at home: I found this to be a great read: www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.html
When we paddled the Apostle Islands we were in and out of sea caves for 5 days with out going in the same cave twice. It was amazing. Our slogan became “take only photos, leave only gelcoat”.
Its a good idea
Don’t get me wrong, but I think the “leave no trace” mindset gets to the point of being a little goofy at times. I personally will not carry dirty toilet paper (and/or poop) in my backpack for a week. Whats wrong with digging a little hole and burying it? Just do it away from water and I can’t imagine its going to do the environment any harm(as long as you’re in a lightly used area); there are critters crapping all around you everyday! Something I’ll never forget is how a wildfire that destroyed hundreds if not thousands of acres of forest was ignited by a backpacker trying to burn his toilet paper! Getting to know natural alternatives to toilet paper is certainly a good skill to know though.
Small, dry islands
One place where burying stuff isn’t workable is small, dry island such as ones off the coast of Maine. Many of these islands are almost all rock and they get many visitors. Imagine the result if people didn’t take out what they brought in.
Additionally, the burden of bringing everything back keeps the number of visitors down.
People often visit places at a much higher density than the native critters do.
Ever go hunting?
i agree to an extent… There are animals such as deer that are turned off by human waste and will no longer habit the area while the odor is around.
keeping the deer out of my garden. (I’ve tried everything)
Here in Montana…
When I go hiking there is animal crap everywhere, so us humans, being animals that we are, are just like them. Our crap will do about as much damage as there’s does.
Thats at most stuck to my boot.
Thing of the 1,000,000’s of years old this planet is. The soil under your feet has been crapped on at sometime in it’s history.
I AM “turned off by human waste and will no longer habit the area while the odor is around!”
There’re places where that …
…attitude works and there’re places where it doesn’t. In places that get really heavy use by humans, especially in dry environments or places with very minimal soil cover (or none at all), there’s a real need to be concious of this problem. In the area I live, this need not be a problem at all in most cases, but it often is anyway.
On one of my favorite local rivers, “natural” disposal of human waste in a way that would do no environmental harm and cause no inconvenience to anybody is very easy to do, BUT ALMOST NOBODY DOES IT. People could go back into the woods, where the soil is rich and moist, and bury their do-do (where it would quickly degrade), but instead, they leave it on the dry sandbars, anyplace there’s screening cover of willows on one side. Such places quickly become a dangerous “mine field” in the summer on the more popular stretches of the river. When you find out that the campsite that looked so good from the river looks like the fenced-in backyard of someone who owns two or three big dogs, but never cleans up after them, you start to wonder “what are all these river-dorks (to borrow a term from Bob) thinking?”
Go hike mount whitney
and then we will talk about it. Tons of poop per year. Lot’s of high altitute places are unbelieveable beautiful to camp in but do not have enough bioactiviey to sustain burial.
a deer moving a few pellets out his white tail. No big deal
Your neighbor’s dog crapping in the flower bed; not that big of a deal.
Now picture your neighbor crapping in your flower bed; not a pleasant site! Then your’e gonna just walsk by it all week long as you head to get the morning paper?