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Old 06-27-2013, 09:14 PM   #1
l'oiseau
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TP in the woods

For some reason I usually find myself having to go when I'm stuck in traffic rather than when I'm out hiking or camping but after a couple of days it is inevitable.

I'm going to come out and say it. I've never packed it out.

I was doing some reading and I think I am supposed to... hmmm...

(commence throwing stones)

You mean to tell me it is better to waste a couple plastic bags and let it sit in a dump or at the bottom of the ocean than to let some thin paper biodegrade naturally in the ground?

Say what?

I guess I can see it an issue if there is high traffic and everyone is using the same cat holes. I don't mind a little bushwhack unless it an emergency...

And so what if an animal finds it and eats it... it'd be like you or I coming home and finding an ice cream cake in the fridge. It isn't good for you but it tastes darn good.

I guess that is one ticket I am going to risk, because I honestly don't believe it is better.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:44 PM   #2
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At least take the time to bury it please.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:51 PM   #3
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Yes, bury. My personal opinion is that it's alright, if it's buried. I have read pronouncements from various organizations that "animals will dig it up, and that's why you see it on the surface." But I think that's just plain wrong, and old wives' tale. I searched extensively a couple years ago for ANY study that actually documented evidence that "animals will dig it up, and that's why you see it on the surface." I could find nothing. Each outlet that was saying this was citing another outlet, but no one cited any science.

So I think that's a BS tale, and all these outlets keep repeating it enough times that lots of people believe it. Applying Occam's Razor, its FAR likelier that the TP is on the surface because it was never buried in the first place.

(And I find that the same rule used for camping, "150' from road, trail, or body of water" works pretty well for this, as well.)
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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I bury it with the goods. And I don't use the cushy, colored, perfumed stuff either. So that's why I don't see the big deal...
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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if on the surface ,rain water can run into streams causing isses, if in the ground, mother natures filter will break it down properly.....
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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From what I've read, burying in organically active soils will allow the paper and contaminants to decompose. It is advised to pack & carry out in areas without such soils or if the location can get flooded (river trips unless well above flood level). I did pack it out when backpacking in the desert SW (Utah) where it is mostly rock. It wasn't a big deal but a little weird.

I feel like I'm a leave-no-trace camper except for TP in the ADKs - which I do bury, pack down and cover. I search for slight depressions where no run-off is likely.

I've seen TP "blooms" around some camp sites and I have to assume it was left there, not dug up.
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Old 06-28-2013, 11:08 AM   #7
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Right? Seems like buried it should decompose as well as the leaves do... which if you want to be really proper, you should just use in lieu of the paper.
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Old 06-28-2013, 09:01 PM   #8
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Seems to me, if there is a regulation, there is reasoning behind it. So my attitude is that I will do what is requested. If their is reason behind the regulation then I am helping to keep the environment as good as possible for my fellow backpackers. If there is not reasoning behind the regulation then I am helping to keep the environment as good as possible for my fellow backpackers.

Not difficult logic.
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Old 07-04-2013, 08:08 AM   #9
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-McKinley.html
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:27 AM   #10
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"To their credit the celebrities apparently admitted to their mess when they reached the base camp and the ranger on duty omitted to issue a citation to Krakauer, 59, and Anker, 50."

WOW!! That really sets an example doesn't it?

Some people talk the talk, others actually walk the walk.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:02 AM   #11
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No wondering about it -

Pack it out. Every time. Please.
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Old 07-06-2013, 10:20 AM   #12
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Unless it's some fancy kind it's just a wood product and will decompose quickly. Just burying it at least 18" below the ground will suffice. Chances of an animal digging it up at that depth is quite slim. The deeper the better.But then we have to worry about people crying that we're causing a negative impact digging a hole in the woods so if those opinions bother you then by all means pack it out.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:52 PM   #13
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To decompose it needs to be in organic soil or exposed to the elements. 18 inches might be a tad deep in the adks. It will likely be mineral soil at that depth.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:25 AM   #14
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Most say 6"-8" so I stand corrected and will remember that. The bottom line is as long as you're far enough away from campsites, trails, and water the burying method is just as environmentally friendly as packing it out, probably more so.
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Old 07-07-2013, 09:59 AM   #15
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...the burying method is just as environmentally friendly as packing it out, probably more so.
I would have to agree. If I packed it out, that would mean using a plastic bag. I recycle as much as I can, but once I got the bag home, I WOULD NOT wash it out and use it again! Burying your bodily function sees that a plastic bag does not go to the burn plant or a landfill.

If I were to go to a more sensitive area, than maybe packing out would be best, but tenting out in Pharaoh Lake or wherever in the ADK's, I think burying will do nicely.
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #16
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I would have to agree. If I packed it out, that would mean using a plastic bag. I recycle as much as I can, but once I got the bag home, I WOULD NOT wash it out and use it again! Burying your bodily function sees that a plastic bag does not go to the burn plant or a landfill.

If I were to go to a more sensitive area, than maybe packing out would be best, but tenting out in Pharaoh Lake or wherever in the ADK's, I think burying will do nicely.
This was my original point. Like I say, I can see packing it out in some areas other than the ADKs where the soil isn't very active on the surface or there is limited land access i.e. river camping.

Also, I would challenge anyone who advocates packing out to find my sites. I walk over them to be sure they won't be easily disrupted and they are far off any trail or water source.

I think I tend to believe the argument that if it is visible, it was never buried in the first place.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:59 AM   #17
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I also think dogs are a bigger problem than people. Who cleans up after their dog in the woods? Dogs go where they wish (good boy!). When giardia first came around, it was suspected that dogs, not people themsleves were the primary transporters of this disease.
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Old 07-07-2013, 12:48 PM   #18
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I have to agree with Dundee's thoughts on carrying out.
Personally I wander a pretty good distance away from trails and campsites when I need to relieve myself. Mostly for privacy unlike a place (more like a public outhouse 10' off trail) I've seen coming off Marcy one day. I do not bury the dogs but I do make a real effort to remove it from common areas, trails and camping areas. I wish the deer, chipmunks, squirrels and bear to name a few would do the same
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:44 PM   #19
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As you walk down Lake Road from the AMR, I dare anyone to walk behind the huge boulder at the junction for the trail to Colvin...looks/smells like a cesspool. Obviously not buried properly (or in many cases, not at all) but the effect is nasty.
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Old 07-08-2013, 03:48 PM   #20
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Well it sounds like some people need to use some judgement about where they pop a squat and take 30 seconds to dig a hole.

I don't think packing it in or out is the issue still... obviously those people aren't packing anything out and it is still a mess.
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