Yuck

 

Here’s a conundrum: How do you convince 2,000 backpackers to use human poop bags at a crowded camping area high in the mountains this summer? Over the years, Conundrum Hot Springs has become the most heavily visited overnight wilderness destination in the Aspen area. You might also call the 11,000-foot-high hot springs slob central: The Forest Service studied the area in 2006, and found that 71 percent of campsites had “partially unburied solid waste” within a short distance of the core camping area. What’s more, the water in the hot springs has sometimes tested positive for fecal coliform bacteria, and the hot springs are part of the water supply for the valley far below. Help is on the way, however, if hikers agree to pick up one of the 2,000 ingeniously constructed poop bags available at the trailhead — and use them. According to the Aspen Times, “Waste goes into an inner sack that contains enzymes and polymers that change the composition of the waste.” The inner sack is then wrapped in a protective outer bag. Safely contained, the whole thing can be packed out and later tossed into the garbage, much like a used baby diaper. The Forest Service hopes that the Restop 2 brand bags, which were partly financed by the Aspen Skiing Co. employees’ Environment Foundation, will appeal to hikers’ sense of environmental ethics.

High Country News Classifieds