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Thread: Tourists making a mess of national Parks

  1. #16
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    Talk to any long term forest service or national park service employee and they will tell the sad tale of doing more with far less people. The reality is there used to be lot more federal employees picking up trash per visitor and more importantly being present to deter folks from dumping it. Usage of the parks is up and staffing is down which makes for a bad situation. Maintaining trash cans is labor intensive and haulage and tippage fees are steep at landfills. In many cases, the landfills are quite remote so unless the government uses a contractor it may be several hours of staff time just to drive to the landfill to dump and return. The solution has been to remove trash barrels and hope that carry in/carry out signs will encourage folks to do so that the staff can be cut and once they are off the budget, they are gone for good. Trash and bad habits beget more trash and more bad habits.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 07-31-2019 at 04:45 AM.

  2. #17
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    For whatever it's worth, we didn't see any trash at all at Yellowstone or Grand Teton last year, and we were there at the height of tourist season. In fact, I've seen more toilet paper directly on trails in the Whites this year than I saw trash of any kind at those parks last year. At Yellowstone we were in the front country at all of the standard tourist stops. In Grand Teton it was only back country. Consistently, those two parks were very clean. Now, traffic was not such a rosy subject...

    Seriously, the toilet paper situation in the Whites has got to change. TF is wrong with people. [Sorry for implied curse word. This subject impacts my blood pressure.]
    Sure. Why not.

  3. #18
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    Seriously, the toilet paper situation in the Whites has got to change. TF is wrong with people. [Sorry for implied curse word. This subject impacts my blood pressure.]
    The past two Springs I've been doing a lot of trips to the Catskills and find it pretty common there too. They also apparently like their fires because you can find a well trampled camp site with a huge, well used fire ring on just about any summit above 3500', despite both of these things being expressly prohibited on their website and signs right on the trails. People are just conditioned to ignore authority now and do whatever suits their needs.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 48/48; ME 4k: 2/14; VT 4k: 1/5; NY 46: 6/46

  4. #19
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    TP issue to me is related to the proliferation of winter hiking. What is buried in the snow becomes visible in the spring. Assuming the same percentage of people will leave trash behind, if there are more hiking there will be more TP being used, and more left behind.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    How do you folks reconcile summit cannisters?
    My personal view:

    1) Not trash. It's a purposeful object marking a summit.
    2) It's a small object.
    3) You're unlikely to stumble upon it unless you are peakbagging, and the canister is usually welcome by peakbaggers.

    I know it opens up a can of worms like "is it ok to have 5 million geocaches then?", but my response would be there's bigger fish to fry at the moment. As far as Wilderness(TM) summits, very mixed feelings, though I certainly wouldn't be hurt if they were taken away.

  6. #21
    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    For whatever it's worth, we didn't see any trash at all at Yellowstone or Grand Teton last year, and we were there at the height of tourist season.
    I would echo this. I was in Glacier at the shoulder of peak and saw very little trash. I generally pick trash up as I hike and I picked up a minimal amount while hiking - which we did each of the 7 days there. I pick up more on a short hike here than I did in all my hiking there. Full disclosure: I draw the line at TP. Won't even go there - you don't have time for my rant.
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  7. #22
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    The impact of facial tissue (kleenex) versus toilet tissue (TP). After five annual trips to Spain to hike on the various Camino's de Santiago and seeing all the "TP" blossoms along this quite crowded set of Pilgrimage routes I think I have made a discovery related to the problem.

    In Spain many people tend to carry facial tissue packets rather than a roll of TP for their countryside bowel evacuation, or on the distaff side, urine wiping. I think that this is why the blossoms exist for such a long period of time:

    Is there a difference between tissue paper and toilet paper?

    Facial tissue and toilet paper is basically the same thing, a disposable wiper made from paper pulp. Toilet paper is designed to dissolve quickly in water so that it will not clog pipes or damage septic systems and municipal sewer processing machinery. Facial tissue is manufactured in a way that makes the surface smoother than toilet paper which gives a softer feel to the paper. Facial tissue also often contains lotions, perfumes, and other softeners to make the tissue feel better when used to blow or wipe noses. Facial tissue does not dissolve in water as rapidly as toilet paper and should not be flushed. (from https://www.supplytime.com/Blogs/Blo...-Facial-Tissue)

    Does this solve the problem? No, but maybe now we know a little something about the problem.
    Last edited by Hillwalker; 07-31-2019 at 08:19 AM.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salty View Post
    My personal view:

    1) Not trash. It's a purposeful object marking a summit.
    2) It's a small object.
    3) You're unlikely to stumble upon it unless you are peakbagging, and the canister is usually welcome by peakbaggers.

    I know it opens up a can of worms like "is it ok to have 5 million geocaches then?", but my response would be there's bigger fish to fry at the moment. As far as Wilderness(TM) summits, very mixed feelings, though I certainly wouldn't be hurt if they were taken away.
    The question was prompted by what greeted me at The Captain this weekend.Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #24
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Interesting set of artifacts! Looks like a well built canister. Of course I can understand the link to "Captain" Morgan, but I'm puzzled by the Turkish flag. Also cannot quite tell from the photo what the dark object is, that looks sort of like an eggplant...

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Interesting set of artifacts! Looks like a well built canister. Of course I can understand the link to "Captain" Morgan, but I'm puzzled by the Turkish flag. Also cannot quite tell from the photo what the dark object is, that looks sort of like an eggplant...
    The Turkish flag is a memorial for an avid hiker who died a couple years ago. Not sure he ever made it up there himself but it is a new addition since my last trip there in 2017. The dark thing is an eye patch. The canister contained several more. There are no less than 4 Captain Morgan bottles containing either water or watered down rum with an email address on all of them. He keeps bringing more up there but not removing any. I did not pack any of the trash out.

  11. #26
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Interesting. Sounds like some kind of obsession. The community should work out an agreement as to what should and should be up there. My guess is the "more and more plastic bottles" are probably not what most people want to see. Thanks for the info!

  12. #27
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    The Turkish flag is a memorial for an avid hiker who died a couple years ago. Not sure he ever made it up there himself but it is a new addition since my last trip there in 2017. The dark thing is an eye patch. The canister contained several more. There are no less than 4 Captain Morgan bottles containing either water or watered down rum with an email address on all of them. He keeps bringing more up there but not removing any. I did not pack any of the trash out.
    Urf, yeah, that's a little too busy for my tastes. I thought the single bottle of Captain was amusing when I was there. Four is whacked out.

    TCD, those canisters are common on the 3k's around NH (probably Maine and VT as well), designed to alleviate a lot of problems commonly found in other methods. They've held up very well through the years near as I can tell.

  13. #28
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    The question was prompted by what greeted me at The Captain this weekend.Click image for larger version. 

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    Better than the pile of corpses atop The Fool Killer.
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  14. #29
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I never experienced canisters until, I went out west. I don't bushwhack so and in NH you don't see them on the standard peaks. Personally, I'm ambivalent about them. I signed the first few I found, then found it to be a pointless practice. I can see how a community of people would enjoy seeing their friends names. I know when I was doing the 14ers, there was an issue with someone taking the canisters. He thought they didn't belong and was taking it upon himself to remove them. I don't think that's fair at all. I do think that canisters should not be added too with paraphernalia, I get the sentiment, but its no different then memorials left on summits. Nobody else knows the context of them, so basically they are just an intrusion.

  15. #30
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    There are no less than 4 Captain Morgan bottles containing either water or watered down rum with an email address on all of them. He keeps bringing more up there but not removing any. I did not pack any of the trash out.
    What kind of nut does to the Captain four times? That's my question...
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