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Leave No Trace: the argument AGAINST it


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Showing 1-25 of 317 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 7, 2010 9:38:12 AM PDT
a few people decided to get contentious on the LNT thread i started a while back, where i was asking for suggestions on HOW to do that without dealing with the smell, etc., one might encounter when packing out waste.

since they seemed to take umbrage when i objected to their hijacking of my thread, i told them i'd start a new thread here, where they can criticize & opine about the practice to their hearts' content.

i support leave no trace & i always do it, no matter how gross it is or how much it inconveniences me. how about you?

fyi, that's a rhetorical question. i won't be tracking this thread, so go ahead & flame each other all you want.

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 12:36:33 PM PDT
Pecos Bill says:
I've always taken what I see as the "common sense" approach. Leave no trace to me means leave no garbage and bury your poop.

Anything beyond that is for places that are so overcrowded, you might as well just be staying at a Holiday Inn anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2010 1:14:14 PM PDT
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Posted on Jul 17, 2010 9:25:43 AM PDT
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Posted on Jul 27, 2010 2:41:28 PM PDT
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Posted on Aug 23, 2010 10:09:57 AM PDT
I'm just not packing out my "litter", period. Nature is there to enjoy and you can not if you are worried about "the rules". Most of 'leave no trace' is just plain common courtesy and that I have no problem with. Human litter, like animal litter is nutrient rich and has long term benefit for the plants. Just do your business off the trails and where other will be and take your trash with you. Nature has a way of absorbing what we do and we don't give nature enough credit for that.

Besides, the animals that visit my yard and house usually leave behind a little something.

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 1:03:38 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 15, 2010 7:42:57 PM PST]

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 2:29:37 PM PDT
Ross says:
Packing out your solid waste is overboard. You should just pack out the TP. Seal it up in a ziplock freezer bag. This is what they tell you to do at Yosemite.

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 3:17:58 PM PDT
Ross says:
More food for thought: Horses are not native to North and South America and have only been here since the Europeans brought them. Humans, however, have been here for as long as 50,000 years. I don't see anyone picking up road apples!

Posted on Aug 26, 2010 3:58:01 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2010 8:26:52 PM PDT
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Posted on Aug 26, 2010 8:44:52 PM PDT
Dan Pianetto says:
The materials involved with packing your waste out of the wild (you know, where wild animals defecate) are worse than the poop.

Posted on Aug 27, 2010 7:45:50 AM PDT
I poop in the woods whenever possible.

Posted on Aug 31, 2010 4:57:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 31, 2010 5:07:23 PM PDT
dave h says:
It's not black and white. I think what you need to pack out depends on the specific environment. In arid areas, TP can take a LONG time to decompose (burried or not), but it is really a cosmetic concern. But human waste in an arid area is quickly scavenged by bugs and critters (mainly for the moisture in it). However, if you're in a deep canyon, your poop whether burried or not ends up eventually draining into the creek, which is also often the only water supply, so I say you gotta pack it out. I think the number one consideration is, "Are you impacting the only available water supply?". While I trust my micro filters, and there's always the boiling option, I don't want human crap in my water supply. Call me picky. And I realize there may be some animal crap in the water, but that hardly makes it OK to add human poop to it along with all the potential human viruses and bacteria (like E. Coli) that go with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 31, 2010 11:08:32 PM PDT
Eden Decker says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2010 1:28:44 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2010 1:31:35 AM PDT
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Posted on Sep 9, 2010 11:48:10 AM PDT
I don't care what you all say, I am not carrying poop anywhere in anything. I take biodegradable tp and don't think twice about my poop, I am out there to relax and unwind, not act like some nut trying to save the earth from my poop while driving some gas guzzling machine and wasting electric blogging on my computer about how I carry tp in a zip loc bag.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2010 5:38:27 AM PDT
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Posted on Sep 12, 2010 6:40:13 PM PDT
I have a moderate amount of wilderness experience with a reputable wilderness trip organization in Maine. Here's my opinion on the matter: no trash, ever, should be left. If the fire is hot enough, you may burn food, paper, and plastic. Word is that plastic which is "recycled" is burned anyways, referring to plastic ice bags. Just don't breath the fumes. In terms of human waste, I would point out that animals do whatever they do on the ground. The respectful alternative for us humans is to bury it 6-8 inches under the ground. You might consider leaving an obvious tiny pile of pine cones in frequently used campsites (it's happened before.) Toilet paper is completely biodegradable within a year or two. Certain areas permit burying decomposable trash 6-8 inches though you usually don't end up with much and you can pack out a few pieces of packaging.

When cleaning dishes, there are two methods. After all large particles of food have been eaten or slopped into your compost bag, you may either "duff" the bowl (use leaves, sand, dirt, twigs, etc. to remove food residue) and then rinse or alternatively "swill" which is to pour some water into the bowl, use it to rinse the sides and then drink it. You can "broadcast" if you want.

The traditional method for disposing of toothpaste is either below high tide line or to broadcast. First, add additional water to your mouth and spray the toothpaste in a mist over the ground. Sometimes you can dispose of "grey water" in water pits which are either dug for you or a 6-8 inch hole where biodegradable soap and food will decompose.

The previous refers to mainland. On an island where the topsoil is thin you will need to pack out poop. We use "wag bags" or something to that effect which is a gelling agent in a double sealing bag. Since you'll be canoeing or kayaking around carrying your honey bucket or bag is not such a big deal. These can be disposed of in trash recepticals on the mainland. If I were not with an association, I would have little problem disposing of my solid waste in the open ocean, but never in fresh water.

I feel this to be a reasonable policy, adapted where necessary. I've seen campsites with "micro-trash" strewn about, but those are usually car campers and not hikers. Just imagine what someone might say when they arrive at your campsite after you've left.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2010 11:34:17 PM PDT
Ross says:
Correct. I guess the whole point I'm trying to make is that I don't buy into the whole idea that natural human waste somehow doesn't belong on the earth. There seems to be a growing self-loathing attitude among some environmentalists that I don't buy into.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2010 10:14:22 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 13, 2010 10:21:27 AM PDT]

Posted on Sep 13, 2010 10:21:05 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2010 10:25:22 AM PDT
J.B. Cabell says:
Bears and deer do it in the forest, so why shouldn't I? I just take care to hide evidence of campfires, pack out my garbage, bury my waste and don't leave permanent marks on rocks and trees. Nature takes care of the rest in a matter of weeks or months.

Some years ago I took a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. They had a portable toilet along for solid waste, but we were told to urinate into the river, because it was impractical to haul out liquid waste. Due to National Park regulations, campfires were built in a portable steel box and ash was hauled out. The fire box was used at times to reduce the volume of trash. That's fine, if you have a water craft that's big enough to haul a portable toilet, a fire box and a dozen people to help set up and break camp every day, but if you're an individual or traveling on foot in a small group, you need to simplify and make compromises.

Posted on Sep 13, 2010 3:12:43 PM PDT
JB says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 14, 2010 2:55:28 PM PDT
Master Flash says:
Burn the TP at the "site".
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Discussion in:  Camping forum
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Initial post:  Jul 7, 2010
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