US National Parks have a major human poop problem

Originally published at: US National Parks have a major human poop problem | Boing Boing


Sounds like a crap shoot


Leave nothing but your footsteps.

Pack it out policy might clear things up a bit.


What’s wrong with increasing their funding to deal with this? The national parks are about the size of a rounding error in the Federal budget, so it shouldn’t take too much to move a few dollars over so that tourists can poop without messing up the sensitive environments.


The woman fell into the pit toilet at Mt Walker in Olympic National Forest, not in the national park. They are not the same place. However it’s not like the national forests don’t have the same issue, and even less money to deal with it.

Also, the video says they plainly CAN figure out what to do about it, they just can’t get the funds.


I thought the bears :bear: only shit in the woods?


Depends on the kind of bear you’re talking about


indeed. some bears will shit wherever you want them to, if you are into that sort of thing.
(from what i understand.)


If the park service took out the pit toilets the result wouldn’t be “tourists all start packing their poop out of the park.” The result would be “massive numbers of tourists pooping in places they shouldn’t and/or dropping bags of poop in the park trash cans.” A solution that would cause problems orders of magnitude worse than the current situation.


In Canada the bathrooms in national parks are delightful. Clean, well stocked, always available. There are trucks that go around and pump them out and restock them periodically. Is this not how the American ones work? Why is it a problem?


If people aren’t actually prepared to pack it out, rebook them to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

1 Like

Tragedy of the commons.

Federal funds for poop pumping get diverted for resource extraction so the mining/oil/timber companies don’t have to pay their own way while fleecing the public.

See also: Ryan Zinke, David Bernhardt.


Effectively enforcing a “pack out your own poop” rule for millions of tourists would take more NPS resources than actually dealing with cleaning out the pit toilets. And even they somehow succeeded we’d just end up with millions of plastic bags filled with human poop tossed into dumpsters outside the parks, which would be an environmental and health nightmare of its own.

Besides, the National Parks are supposed to encourage people to enjoy America’s natural splendor, not to create an actively hostile environment for visitors.


Hell the US Park Service doesn’t have enough coverage to patrol the Parkways in NoVaDC.

If you want to test drive a new car the GW Parkway is the place to open it up.

Let her rip! (To stay on topic)

1 Like



Wrong type of resource?

1 Like

They’re mainly talking about latrines are in the backcountry – no water, no sewer … and no roads, so no truck is going to pump them out. Some are frontcountry, but not near piped water, so they’re pits (or more commonly vaults, nowadays) or composters. I can’t recall a park site that didn’t have flush toilets at the visitor centers.


So am I. There’s no plumbing in Canadian national parks either. That’s why they use trucks. These are plain pit toilets, built into nice little houses with ventilation and toilet paper and hand sanitizer stocked.

Backcountry camping areas beyond the reach of roads don’t have public restrooms, but there is always one at the trail head which is accessible by road.

Canada has way fewer resources and is a whole lot more thinly spread than the US but manages to do this. You’re playing the “America hasn’t solved it because the problem is unsolvable” card that drives all other countries nuts online.


Animated GIF

What are you, some kind of commie!?! Public land isn’t to be protected by public monies! It’s to be sold as cheaply as possible to private industry! /s

Not Funny Reaction GIF by The Drew Barrymore Show

I honesty don’t know, but I bet that, although our public park systems are wildly and universally beloved, that the GOP has long been trying to do all they can to ensure that problems like this are not solved in an effective, because they want to sell the land to private individuals, the way god intended… :rage:

Public parks like this are meant for everyone to have easy access to, not just experts hikers and outdoors people. Places like this are some of the few places that people who don’t camp or hike regularly get to spend time in the great outdoors. Making them easily accessible to ALL visitors SHOULD be a priority, since, you know, their maintenance come out of ALL OUR tax dollars.

Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon