With COVID-19 restrictions reducing the number of people able to ski and ride in resort, this will certainly be the ‘winter of the backcountry’.
This brings a range of management issues, as inexperienced and, potentially, under equipped, people head out into what can be serious terrain and sometimes crazy weather.
There is also another dimension to this: what to do with the waste that will be brought into the backcountry, including human waste (aka Poo).
The following information comes from the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service:
The back country of Kosciuszko is one of the most beautiful places in Australia. It provides wonderful experiences for remote hiking, skiing and camping. The values of this sensitive alpine environment are at risk from human waste. You can help protect Kosciuszko’s unique environment. Part of enjoying this area is caring for it by removing all your waste.
ALPINE ZONE – MAIN RANGE
The Main Range in Kosciuszko National Park attracts many visitors because of the remote, wilderness experience. Human waste management has been a problem
in the area for a long time. The increased number of remote campers, hikers and skiers has increased the problem of managing human waste appropriately. The past practices of burying human waste in the snow is not acceptable as it does not dispose of it. It simply freezes and when the snow melts the waste is visible and remains as a pollutant that is unhealthy and unsightly for other visitors.
Some remote areas in the alpine zone are covered in snow for many months of the year. Faeces left in the snow will either show up during the spring melt or will remain for decades or longer if the snow is permanent. Even when there isn’t snow, the combination of low temperatures and shallow, nutrient poor soils limits decomposition and faeces can remain for long periods. Where there are shallow rocky soils, burying creates disturbance and is not possible so carrying out your waste is the best option.
Part of enjoying the alpine environment is protecting it. You can reduce your impact on the environment by removing your waste and disposing of it responsibly in rubbish bins, once you’re out of the back country. Please do not place bagged waste down flushing or pit toilets.
Proper disposal of human waste is important to protect the environment. Please leave no trace and care for Kosciuszko.
CARRY OUT YOUR WASTE
Do not bury your waste in the snow. Once the snow melts, your waste is an unhealthy and unsightly affront to everyone’s wilderness exprience.
Care for the environment by carrying our your rubbish including human waste.
Purchase a commercial product or check for a home-made option on the internet (have a look below for a link to a ‘how to’ guide).
Please dispose of bagged waste appropriately in bins, do not place in flushing or pit toilets.
CARRY EVERYTHING OUT
Pack out your waste entirely, including your faeces. Sounds fun? Don’t worry, it’s really easy, entirely sanitary and helps you protect Kosciuszko’s unique environment.
Carrying everything out from your wilderness experience needn’t be a problem, you just need to plan ahead. There are commercial products available to assist in waste removal or search for homemade solutions on the internet.
Carrying out personal waste is not a new concept. Hikers, climbers and campers in remote areas of parks in other countries have been doing so for many years with mandatory ‘carry-everything out’ programs. So if you are planning to visit the Main Range, get yourself mentally prepared to not only bring along the right equipment, but to carry out your bagged waste to the appropriate disposal site such as a rubbish bin, once you are out of the back country.
If you are tough enough to trek in Kosciuszko, you are tough enough to carry everything out.
You can check this story from Mountain Journal ‘Let’s talk about poo’ which covers how to deal with your waste, here.