A Matter Of Opinion

MONDAY, AUG. 20, 2007, 9:14 A.M.

Wag Bags

Our editorial Saturday talked about the growing problem with human waste dumped on the sandy beaches of Lake Roosevelt.

Clearly, visitors to Lake Roosevelt – last year there were 1.28 million of them – need a rapid education on the proper way to dispose of human waste near their camp sites.
This reservoir laps up onto more than 600 miles of shoreline, making it impossible to build bathrooms at every location where visitors might need them. Currently, campers are required to bring portable toilets, but the area is so short-staffed that rangers can't enforce the rules. Lake Roosevelt has eight full-time rangers this summer, down from 20 in 1997...Bird believes the solution lies in ramping up an education program, which will require additional staff, and possibly a new permit and fee system to help cover the costs. Campers need to learn about new degradable waste disposal bags, called WAG Bags, which transform stools into an odorless gel. They can be easily carried out and thrown in the trash.

What is the best way to educate people about packing it in and packing it out?

(James Hagengruber photo of makeshift "toilet" on Lake Roosevelt.)

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