How to Poop in The Woods Correctly

We were all taught as very young humans how to dispose of our waste properly at home, right? Potty training is kind of the first big task we accomplish in our lives. But many people never got the lesson on how to dispose of our waste properly in the woods. And why would we have been taught that? Most people either don't camp or if they do, they go to campsites with toilets. But as camping and outdoor recreation become more popular, the need to potty train people on how to properly poop in the woods has become somewhat of a crisis issue. Camping areas all over northern Arizona are on the verge of closing if people don't start burying their ish correctly.

There are so many good reasons why we should do this the right way.
First, and most obviously, is that no one wants to see or step on our poop. That includes ourselves, our camping buddies, our dogs, our partner(s), and certainly not the camper who stays at the campsite after us. Can you imagine what camping would be like if we all didn't take care of our waste properly?

Forest service sign closing area due to too much human waste trash
Well, we'll save you a thought experiment, here's how it actually looks in many places around Flagstaff:

Campsites with trash spread all over

REASON #2 : Environmental impact. Neighboring attraction, Sedona Slide Rock State Park, gets shut down every summer due to a dangerously high concentration of fecal matter in Oak Creek. Not only is that gross and inconvenient, but it's also starting to affect the flora and wildlife in the area. If you happen to be recreating in Flagstaff near water, please dig your hole 6-8 inches deep at least 200 ft (about 70 steps) from the water. Since Arizona is a desert climate and water is scarce at best, most natural (and human-made) water resources are precious and needed by people, plants, and wildlife. Of course, humans get to have the luxury of filtering and cleaning the water before consumption - wildlife and plants are not so lucky.

Without further ado...

Here's How to Properly Poop in the Woods

  1. Find a spot that's at least 200 ft from water and your campsite. The ground would preferably already look like natural composting is taking place with softer soil, pine needles or leaves breaking down. This will potentially help your waste breakdown faster.
  2. Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and at least 4 inches wide.
  3. Squat over the hole and do some aiming.
  4. After you do your business, wipe with toilet paper, and either drop your toilet paper into the hole or pack it up in a plastic bag and dispose of it properly when you get home. Packing it up is actually the more environmentally friendly thing to do, but your footprint is your choice.
  5. Cover the hole up with the dirt that you dug out of the hole, and try your best to make it look like you were never there. Covering the hole with pine needles, sticks, or leaves will help.

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