Do you bury your poop in the woods?

31 Aug 09

[poll id=”16″]
Vote and tell us what you think in the comment field below.


  • Excavate Before You Evacuate! The organisms that will break down the fecal matter are at about 6-8 inches under the top layer of dirt. It’s that simple. Some animals (like dogs off leash) love to roll in human poop if it’s not buried.

    If you’re ever at Smoky Mountains and hike the trail to Abram Falls, right before you take a left over a bridge, IIRC, there’s a cove of laurel/rhododendron . . . go behind the green stuff and you’ll discover a SEA of T-P. SICKENING. Women need to carry a “pee rag” (bandanna) to use in place of T-P for peeing (hang it on their pack to air dry). And if not, use 3 baggies to triple bag their used T-P and dispose of it properly. Carry IN, Carry OUT.

    A campsite down an old FS road past Raven Cliffs Falls parking area (in North Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest) was cordoned off to allow it to recover from over-use. I went down the road with my dog on a long lead and she found one of the many piles of human poop in the cordoned off area. Not one person had dug a hole. There were piles of poop right up to the edge of the stream. I had to get the poop off my dog as best I could (didn’t plan for that contingency) and took her home and bathed her twice. Can someone say EEWWWW?

    Pine Mountain Trail near Callaway Gardens and F.D.R. State Park has some lovely camping areas along its 23-mile length. Along one section, right next to a stream, there was no tree without T-P around it. No place to set up a tent in the area due to the piles of T-P scattered about. People had used the tenting area as a pee & poop area without consideration of other people or of contaminating the stream.

    PLEASE teach your children, your neighbor’s children, your childrens’ friends: EXCAVATE BEFORE YOU EVACUATE.

    My children and my grandchildren thank you.

    OneMoreCarol   24 Sep 09, 2:37 pm

  • Always. Even if I have to do my business before I have a chance to dig a hole, I always bury it afterwards. Good for the animals, good for the watershed, good for my fellow humans.

    Reasoner   16 Sep 09, 8:51 pm

  • The act of burying your poop is the considerate thing to do–for the environment and for the others hiking in the woods. For heavens sake, when you are at home, don’t you flush your commode after pooping??? It’s the very same thing in my book. Does this mean that the non-buriers poop at home wherever they feel like it–even if it means NOT in the toilet?

    The very reason I love hiking and backpacking is to enjoy the woods and nature as they were meant to be–human stinks omitted. I also love the wonderful people that I meet on the trail–most of whom are serious stewards of the earth…..and that includes burying your poop!

    Katherine Brooks   15 Sep 09, 3:23 pm

  • Anyone who does not bury their poop is being completely irresponsible. How much effort does it require to dig a tiny cavity with your heels or stout stick? You don’t have to carry a shovel, although I do sometimes on longer backpacking trips. Even without a shovel, it usually takes me an extra 60 seconds to properly dig a hole and bury my poop. If you don’t have 60 seconds to spare when you’re out in the wild woods, you’re moving too fast. It’s unquestionably the ethical, moral, and responsible choice-for the woods, the water, and fellow hikers.

    Anne   11 Sep 09, 5:10 pm

  • As a general rule I do excavate before making deposites in the woods,
    in this forum I think it best as to explain why, if for no other reason than to spare myself some grief. Every year we have a few thousand folks attempting the AT. Along with the weekenders we’re talking a bunch of travelers on the trails. Can you imagine, after X amount of time what we all would have to endure if we made no attempt minimize the fact that we had past through? Do the Dark ages in Europe ring any bells? Can you imagine little white tufts of TP all along the trail? Or how about a gentle waft of human feces every so often? My MY what a grand experience. In short, I’d say we do enough damage to the woods as it is, we don’t need to crap all over it.

    Bradley Mead   04 Sep 09, 6:45 pm

  • I must confess: I do not bury my poop most of the time. When nature calls in the middle of a bike ride, I quickly pull to the side of the trail, sneak off into the woods, do my business, and then cover it with leaves. I figure it breaks down faster being exposed than buried. If I’m on a camping trip where I have more time, I’ll take the time to dig a cathole. But if I have to poop during a ride, I think the leaf cover works well enough as long as it’s a good distance from the trail.

    Dave Gearhart   04 Sep 09, 4:33 pm

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