BOISE, Idaho – Campers heading to the national forests have always found camping is allowed most anywhere and that has been a huge bonus for those seeking locations a bit more isolated than developed campgrounds.
All Ranger Districts within the Forest are unfortunately seeing a dramatic increase of trash and human waste being left at those areas where people camp and is seeking help from those camping at them.
The Lowman Ranger District in particular is noticing a sharp increase in messy camping areas along Highway 21 and in the Deadwood Reservoir areas.
“District personnel have found excessive trash in fire pits, non-buried fecal material near the camps, and toilet paper strewn about,” said John Kidd, Lowman District Ranger. “Not only is this disgusting for future campers using the area, it also creates sanitation problems and potentially human/bear interactions.”
Here are tips to make the area cleaner and more presentable for those who use them:
· Paper can be burned in a fire pit, but any non-burnable material such as cans, glass, or aluminum foil must be packed out and taken to a proper garbage can.
· To dispose of human waste properly, dig a hole (cat hole) at least 6 to 8 inches deep, and 200 feet from water, a camp, or a trail. Then cover and disguise the cat hole when done. Bring a small garden trowel to help dig the hole.
· Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products such as cotton or plastic material since animals often dig items up and spread it all over. They are slow to decompose and often remain visible for months. Do not bury them.
Kidd added the value of using techniques called “no-trace camping”.
“No trace camping means when a camper leaves the site, ideally the next camper would see any visible evidence of anyone being there before,” he said. “Imagine how you would feel when arriving at a site and there was either a bunch of trash, or no sign of previous use – it makes a huge difference.”
Ideally, human waste could be collected like river rafters do, with portable toilets. Check river rafting web sites for more information.
Further information is available by calling the Interagency Visitor Center at 208-373-4007.