Our public lands are feeling the pressure of this government shutdown as record levels of trash and poop are building up in some of America’s favorite places (Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite National Park, Crater Lake…) The federal workers who are mandated to care for these lands have been furloughed, and volunteers have come in to start picking up the trash in their absence.
Yet this poopy phenomenon is, sadly, nothing new. Ask PCT hikers in Southern California.
Ask kayakers about popular road-side river boating areas.
Go to any primitive car camping spot with a well established fire ring.
Chances are there will be trash, poop, and tp all over the place.
I was car camping on some BLM land near Bend this weekend, and while I was reading about the levels of trash left by grown adults who know better in our national parks and becoming outraged, I looked outside to see trash spread out over the sagebrush and lava rock right where I was camping.
Bring on the #hikertrashchallenge. It’s time to stop the madness and do more. Please pick up some trash on the public lands closest you, and if you like a good instagram post like me, use the hashtag #pickupyourhikertrash. Lets see what we can do.
So lets recap:
#1. Don’t litter
#2. Bury your poop
#3. Pack out your toilet paper
#4. Pick up trash (even if it isn’t yours)
I’d add let’s go easy on camp fires, fire rings, and rock cairns, particularly in wilderness areas. Use a stove (alcohol or gas) or don’t cook at all (OK, you can only eat so many cold tortillas but…) and let other people find their own way.
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