In The News

How do B.C.s eco friendly toilets work

How do B.C.'s eco-friendly outhouses work? With foot pumps and feces-eating worms

Rising number of visitors to B.C.’s backcountry pushes province to look for human waste solutions

It's not exactly a savoury topic, but outhouse maintenance is a big deal in the backcountry. And in some parts of British Columbia, dealing with human waste costs tens of thousands of dollars. 

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These toilets use worms

These toilets use worms to compost your poop, and they are our future

As park visitation grows, more areas are seeking alternatives to the usual pit toilets and catholes.

When I visited Squamish, British Columbia for a rock climbing trip, I did not know I was also visiting the origin of a backcountry toilet revolution. 

Mount Rainier's temporary town at 10,000'

A day and a night at Camp Muir, home base for climbers, guides, and rangers, halfway up a volcano.

day at Camp Muir starts around 3 pm—just one way Rainier’s largest backcountry campground operates to its own rhythm. At 10,080 feet, Muir is halfway between the park’s visitor hub of Paradise and the peak’s very top. An overnight stop for almost 110 people when full, it’s accessible only on foot—1.3 acres of snow dotted with a handful of huts, some a century old.

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Inside the Controversial World of Composting Toilets

Alternative sanitation systems are making use of creatures that find homes in human poop.

(Inside Science) -- Big, black wasplike things living in your toilet may sound more like a horror scene than a sanitation solution. That's certainly what people in rural Louisiana thought in the summer of 1930, when black soldier flies infested a set of newly installed privies.

When Nature Calls at 12,000 Feet, These Are the Outhouses You Want

Colorado’s Long’s Peak is a, relatively speaking, accessible 14er. As such, it gets quite a bit of traffic. Quite a bit of human waste too, as you’d imagine. So, the National Park Service teamed with the University of Colorado, Denver’s Colorado Building Workshop to design outhouses that work more efficiently, to keep rangers from constantly having to service the toilets, reducing the impact of waste overall.

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Longs Peak toilets win award for architectural design

If you’ve made the trek to the summit of Longs Peak via the Keyhole Route, you probably remember passing outhouse structures along the way. If you’ve made the trek very recently, know that the outhouse structures you passed are award-winners, built with a design that lets them withstand strong winds and allows for more responsible collection of human waste, without limiting a bathroom-goer’s stunning view.

The trouble with backcountry toilets

More people are taking dumps, hiking up disposal costs

As more people hike, fish and camp on public land in southwestern Montana’s Custer Gallatin National Forest, a new problem has arisen — the cost of pumping waste out of vault toilets has more than doubled.

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An Amazingly Crappy Story

In 2009, Canadian researcher Geoff Hill asked park managers across North America what problems they needed solved. Every single one of them said human waste. Since then, Hill has been on a quest to figure out what to do about the fact that U.S. national parks get more than 300 million visitors each year, and at some point most of them have to take a dump. So far, every solution has failed. And so with every trip to the outhouse, we’re contaminating groundwater, spreading disease, and costing parks a fortune. Recently, however, Geoff found an elegant remedy.

Selkirk College ecology: A greener throne

Human waste is something that people don’t really want to talk about. However, for BC Parks, it is a stinking problem.

BC parks see over 21 million visits annually and everyone must answer when nature calls. As you can imagine, all that waste is going to have an impact on the environment. With the large number of visits that the parks are receiving annually, we need to come up with innovative solutions to ensure that we have a clean natural environment to visit.

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You (And Your Poop) Will Be Transported by This French Composting Toilet

There are a few things that put people off the idea of composting toilets. They are often high, like the Sun-mar designs, or they are low but people can’t deal with the idea that they are sitting a few inches above of a pile of poop, as you do in the Envirolet or Multoa.

The 2015–16 Patagonia Season ‘Patagonia d’Or’

While many historic climbs occurred this past season, if I were giving awards, my “Patagonia d’Or” would go to a selfless and lasting non-ascent.

The momentum began in late 2014, with climber Steffan Gregory, who sent me an email: “I’m looking at returning to Chaltén next season and wanted to put some time in giving back. I am curious if you know if there is anything in the works regarding waste management. I’d be willing to write a grant for funding or help with an existing project.”

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How Remote Toilets Work (or Fail to Work) and What They Should Really be Doing.

After completing his PhD on remote site toilet systems, Geoff was hired by Harvest Power to manage one of the largest composting facilities in North America. He has developed two mechanical urine diversion systems and has a number of new toilet systems at various stages of demonstration, commissioning, and procurement. Geoff has five peer-reviewed publications on waterless toilet systems. Prior to his PhD Geoff was an aspirant mountain guide; he has a Master of Science in plant ecology, and an entrepreneurial background in biofuels.

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'Worst work in the world': US park rangers grapple with tide of human waste

With toilets in short supply, ordure can harm streams and wildlife. An entrepreneur has a nifty solution

For 20 years, Richard Lechleitner had a grueling task at Mt Rainier national park: digging human waste out of backcountry toilets and carrying it down the mountains.

New Toilet Solution For the Human Waste Problem in US National Parks

Human waste and the lack of adequate toilet facilities in US National Parks harm wildlife and streams, but an entrepreneur proposes a neat solution.

For two decades, Mt Rainier national park ranger Richard Lechleitner dug human waste from backcountry toilets to carry it down from the mountains.

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Dealing with hikers’ poop is a logistical and funding nightmare in Washington’s backcountry.

Washington’s backcountry trails are more popular than ever, but decades of budget cuts have wreaked havoc on wilderness infrastructure, creating problems with no easy solution.

There’s shi* in them thar mountains

A big life goal of his, says Geoff Hill, is turning waste streams into valuable commodities. Toward that end, Hill’s PhD project focuses on designing improved systems for managing human waste in alpine and arctic regions. 

“It’s my life’s work to try and integrate humans into the ecosystems that support us,” Hill stated. “If you look at any ecosystem, its health and richness can be characterized by its degree of waste integration. Is anything more obviously out of sync between humans and our environment than flying sh*t out of the alpine under a helicopter?”

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A Human Waste Problem!

Probably not the first thought that came to your mind, right?

Seriously, we hikers love remote wilderness areas. But our love has an impact. At the UNESCO World Heritage site of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, more than 150,000 visitors make an impact each year. For more than ten years, ConservationVIP® volunteers have been repairing trails and building bridges in Torres del Paine to help mitigate the impact of visitors on this beautiful and fragile ecosystem. We noticed there are not many bathrooms along the trails and wanted to help.