Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Toilet Paper on the AT

Each year in March and April, the Appalachian Trail through Georgia gets heavy use from thru hikers and with that comes a surge in trash left in their wake.  I find piles of food wrappers in campfires, fuel canisters near shelters, and invariably puffs of toilet paper strewn all over the place.  The former get stuffed into my extra garbage bags and taken out with me.  The latter cause me to fume-- I feel powerless to do anything constructive about it since it's too gross to pick up.

At a campsite past Low Gap Shelter this weekend, I found the following note propped against a tree and weighted down by rocks. 

This note was near a partially buried pile of poop buzzing with flies just at the edge of a campsite.  I especially like this part: "Would you leave TP in your garden?  Well, this is nature's garden.  Please be responsible."  I hope other hikers read the note and it made some people think and reconsider their practices. 

Especially along heavily used trails like the AT, it is always best to poop at privies or anywhere far away (200 feet) from campsites and water.   If you do go near to where people often walk, take extra care to bury waste completely (in a hole 6-8 inches deep).  Pack out toilet paper in a plastic bag.  The AT is such a special trail that it deserves to be kept beautiful.   Please, Dispose of Waste Properly!

(Note: The trip this weekend was a solo out and back from Unicoi Gap to Low Gap shelter and back (19.2 miles total) to scout the water sources for the trip I lead next week for the Trail Dames.)

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