Closing Restrooms is a Crappy Idea

Covid-19 is no doubt a serious health threat, and we should be doing all we can to avoid contracting it. However, so is hepatitis and a buttload of other nasty diseases—and having to negotiate a fecal minefield is just as risky as being in a crowded room of people coughing and sneezing.

While I applaud our government agencies for implementing openings of our trails and parks in a safe manner—leaving privies and restrooms locked is not very prudent. It actually creates even more unsafe conditions leading to water contamination and an environment conducive to spawning all kinds of nasty fecal-borne and transmitted diseases.

The latest studies show that the chances of catching Covid-19 from surfaces are pretty low, therefore restrooms should be opened. There is more of a public health threat of contaminating water sources and fouling trails by keeping them closed.

The sad fact is that so many hikers—particularly ones just discovering the joys of our trails are not versed in proper human waste disposal procedures. The amount of surface pooping and toilet paper blooming on many of our trails is simply astonishing and utterly revolting. Closed privies at trailheads is not helping this situation. It’s making it far worse and threatening our public health.

Yes, hikers should always have their own toilet paper, hand sanitizer and know how to properly poop in the woods. But so many don’t and they simply will poop right along the trail and right next to that closed outhouse.

What needs to be an absolute emphasis right now is that government agencies fully fund restroom maintenance, keeping them open, cleaned, and regularly stocked with toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And what also need to be implemented is a an all-out public education program beginning right at the trailheads through informative signs and volunteers—and extended through social media and other websites addressing how to properly deal with human waste in the backcountry.

During this age of Covid-19, the emphasis from the get-go has been to wash your hands and practice good sanitary disciplines to help stop the spread of this virus.  The emphasis on stopping the spread of hepatitis and other nasty fecal-borne diseases should be treated with the same seriousness. It seems like a terrible idea to compromise our health and environment and spread diseases because of a policy that was aimed at stopping another disease.

Please check out any of my books for plenty of detailed information on trails less traveled. I thank you too for buying my books and supporting my work so that I can continue bringing you up-to-date, accurate and detailed hiking information. Happy Hiking!

Poop Emojis courtesy of

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