Leave No Trace…
It’s a simple concept. Yet sadly compliance can be poor, especially in high visitation areas. Topping my list of irritating violations are the piles of toilet paper littering trailheads, hiking trails, summits, and landscapes of our public lands and National Parks. And ladies, I don’t like to admit it, but we probably are the main offenders of this. I get it, there’s usually not a conveniently located latrine when “nature calls”. Perhaps it’s easy to dismiss your single act of peeing in the outdoors, but consider the hundreds of thousands of people leaving their soggy TP piles behind… GROSS! Also, when done improperly, it can be destructive to the ecosystem. So let’s not “beat around the bush”, instead let me tell you how to properly “squat behind the bush”.
How to Pee in the Outdoors:
- Step off trail and away from water sources and designated campsites. Do not trample on fragile vegetation.
- Urinate on durable surfaces such as rocks. Animals are attracted to the salt in urine and they may dig and disturb sensitive soil and/or defoliate plants.
- If using toilet paper PACK IT OUT with you! Or better yet, switch to a reusable pee cloth.
I’m personally a huge fan of the Kula Cloth. I consider it an essential piece of gear for all my outdoor activities. It’s lightweight, made in the USA, snaps to the outside of my hiking pack for quick access, and comes in so many fun patterned designs! Try it out, and get one for all the adventurous outdoorsy ladies in your life. Or at the very least, please share this information with them.
I also encourage you to further educate yourself on the specific disposal method(s) and requirements for solid human waste in each new area you plan to explore (digging catholes, WAG bags, etc).
If you want to know more about “The Seven Principles” of Leave No Trace, you can view this condensed version from the National Park Service.
Now “go” outdoors and explore your favorite places whilst doing your part to minimize negative human impact!