PACK YOUR PAPER
There is an incredible amount of toilet paper and waste products being left in bushes and under rocks, with high concentrations near popular campsites and climbing areas. In a desert environment, we urge you to pack out your toilet paper and waste products. Natural toilet paper has been used by many campers for years. When done correctly, this method is as sanitary as regular toilet paper, but without the impact problems. Popular types of natural toilet paper include stones, vegetation and snow.
Proper disposal of tampons requires placing them in plastic bags and packing them out. Do not bury them because they don’t decompose readily and animals may dig them up. It will take a very hot, intense fire to burn them completely—campfires are not an adequate solution. There are several EPA-approved, commercially produced pack-out systems available that are easy to use and sanitary for outdoor use.
Cat holes are the most widely accepted method of waste disposal. Locate cat holes at least 200 feet (about 70 adult paces) from water, trails and camp. Select an inconspicuous site where other people will be unlikely to walk or camp. With a small garden trowel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. The cat hole should be covered and disguised with natural materials when finished. If camping in the area for more than one night, or if camping with a large group, cat hole sites should be widely dispersed.
Urine has little direct effect on vegetation or soil. In some instances, urine may draw wildlife which are attracted to the salts. They can defoliate plants and dig up soil. Urinating on rocks, pine needles, and gravel is less likely to attract wildlife. Diluting urine with water from a water bottle can help minimize negative effects.
As more and more people enjoy parks and protected areas every year, packing out human waste is likely to become a more common practice to ensure long-term sustainability of our shared lands.