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Scoutfish

LNT vs pooping

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Okay, just a "I'm just curious" question here. I don't have an issue with it, don't foresee a problem with it, haven't actually been in that situation yet either.

 

So here goes:

 

Not being in BOY Scouting, I do not read BOY Scout books, manuals , nor am I intimate with any great knowledge of the rules,procedures, or guidlines of BOY Scouting.

 

Now having said that, while working a PWD workshop a few weeks ago,I had time to kill and was looking at a 1964 print BSA Camping guide book. Cool book by the way: all pictures were drawn - no photos at all. The camping was completely different than today. Tents were actually lean to looking things made by lashing 3 poles together , tossing a tarp over them, and facing the open end away from the wind. You raked leaves/straw up and covered it with a tarp for a bed.

 

But then here's the part I was wondering about: For head/latrine services, you dug a hole about 1 foot wide by two foot long and squatted over to do your buisness. Then covered it up.

 

Now, in another post, it was mentioned that digging a hole for a dutch oven (making a coal pit) would be against LNT.

 

So, my question is: Wouldn't making a "dirt toilet" be against LNT?

 

I mean,I realize you can't hold in in forever, you don't want to stick it in a bag and in your pocket either. In 1964, zip-lock bags weren't exactly laying around either.

 

And cooking isn't the same as pooping either!(At least we hope! LOL!)

 

So maybe it's changed since then, but I never heard about anybody taking a portable jon on a hike either.

 

Like I said, not an issue, not trying to start an arguement, just curious.

 

AS a Cub parent/ADL, this isn't something I have dealt with because we have not gone deep woods camping.

 

But I am looking at becoming a DL for Webelos I next year, so this info will; definantly be handy to have!

 

Thanks- Scoutfish

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LNT is the new outdoor religion in Scouting in which there are converts that take it to the extreme. For them, they might as well stay home and wait for Wal Mart to put in a Super Center; or, if in West Va wait a few days, and a coal company will blast the hole by removing the entire mountain.

 

Yes, small holes can be dug in the backcountry. Be it for a latrine, a small pit for a Dutch oven (why anyone would backpack a Dutch oven into the backcountry, unless on the back of a mule, is beyound me), or for whatever reason a hole may be needed for.

 

A little common sense (note the word common sense) will provide the insight on how to make that hole blend back into the enviroment.

 

If you need material on LNT, on how to cook in the backcountry, or how to poop, NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) will be your best source.(This message has been edited by Le Voyageur)

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1959: 6th edition of Boy Scout handbook explains cathole latrine in 2 sentences, no graphics (p124).

 

2009: 12th edition of Boy Scout handbook explains cathole latrine (and larger latrines) on pages 249,250 with 2 graphics including a key one that shows what a roll of toilet paper looks like.

 

What 50 years ago was common sense is now an overdone marketing campaign LNT, but heh they can make $$$ from it. Critters are smart, long ago they rebranded their "poop" as "scat" to circumvent LNT police.

 

My $0.01

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Deep woods camping?

 

do you mean backpacking?

 

Leave no trace is a must. How many times have you walked into a camp site at a Scout camp only to find 8 campfire pits with the ground completely black with ash, trash stuffed in every hole in the ground.

 

First never ever dig a pit for a fire, Use the existing fire ring or don't have a fire. We carry a portable fire pit in the scout trailer just in case.

 

For dutch oven cooking we carry pizza pans and bricks. Put the bricks under the pizza pans to provide protection for the ground or use the existing fire ring to cook in.

 

The pit toilet you refered too is called a cathole. First find your self a still 6 or 8 inches long, bring a ziploc bag and mountain money. Dig your hole and assume the position. If your aim is off, get your work into the hole, Don't bury your mountain money, that is what the ziplock bag is for. Take your stick, put some of the dirt back in the hole and stir the contents. finish refilling.

 

I would not take large groups into the back country, this is one of the reasons scouting gets a bad rap. I would not make it a troop outing but a patrol outing. 6-10 boys and adults max.

Even with the smaller group, there is a significant load on the camp sites.

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Scoutfish.

 

With your interest and level of activity within scouting. I would like to encourage you to get more training.

 

First get your outdoor cub training, Baloo and Webelos outdoor leadership(owl).

Second attend the Boy Scout training, our council offers a couple of sessions a year they typically take three saturdays and a complete weekend.

 

Then take the lnt educator course.

 

Notice no mention of woodbadge.

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Basement, I'm planning on taking all the training. Lined up right now with Leader essentials, leader specific and BALOO.

I just became an ADL about a month ago. I have taken 10 online corses so far.

The only reason I haven't had classroom so far is because of conflicting schedule: Had few surgeries to remove an egg size cancer out of my right neck/shouilder area.

 

And as Murphies Law would have it, every surgery, followup, scan/test/ appointment fell on a date of training offered by my or other councils.

 

Well, I'm clear of cancer and almost recovered as much as I ever will( I'll have 90- 95% use of my arm), so now....I'm just waiting for class dates to roll around.

And I talked it over with my cubmaster and DL . Instead of taking leader for Bears, I'm going to take leader for Webelos as they want me to take on den next year.

 

Right now, our Bear den has 25 boys in it! Yeah...25. We are gonna break off at least 1 if not 2 dens from the current one.

 

Anyways, that's why I' asking so many webelos/ BOY scout related activities questions. All my limited experience is with Wolf Cubs and Bear Cubs.

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From the LNT website:

 

DISPOSE OF WASTE PROPERLY

 

Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest area for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, food and litter.

Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.

Pack out toilet paper and hygeine products.

To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained water.

 

A side note, when digging a cathole, never dig below the mineral soil level. Waste needs organisms to decompose. Waste left in clay layers will last forever.

 

 

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Scoutfish,

At the risk of sounding like someone who babies young Lads.

I would not take Webelos Scouts to a camp where cat holes were needed.

My big fear is that this would scare them off from joining a Troop and future Scouting activities.

I see Webelos Scout camping as a introduction to camping and the great outdoors. While I know a lot of young Lads would see pooping in the woods as a great adventure, I also know that there are a good many who just would refuse to go and this while maybe not a big risk for serious injury or harm could lead to the Lad being very uncomfortable.

A lot has been written about using the bathroom in the outdoors. Some of the ideas that were once accepted have now been challenged and some changed (I'm thinking mainly of smearing.)

One great story I heard from a friend who used to be a SM of a Troop in Punxsutawney. (Jeff Biddle).

Jeff and the Troop had an arrangement that the Troop could camp for a week on a little island that someone owned. The paddled out with their gear, everything they needed for a week.

A P/L came to Jeff and very proudly stated that he had perfected the fine art of pooping in a zip-lock bag. Jeff said that this was great,but asked how the Lad got rid of the bag. The P/L explained that he burnt it. Jeff was a little surprised and asked if he was burning it on the Patrol cooking fire? The Lad became very indignant and told Jeff not to be silly, he was burning it on another Patrols cooking fire.

By far the best way to deal with poop is to pack it out and dispose of it in the right place. Cat-holes work, but many are dug in the wrong place or because of the ground can't be dug.

Some trails are now providing porta-potties,sadly some of these are not as clean as they should be.

Ea.

 

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Scoutfish,

 

I would also note that Cubs have their own LNT award. It's based on the frontcountry guidelines - basically oriented to day hikes and simple overnights at established campsites, not backcountry areas. (The only mention of pooping: "Use established restrooms.)

 

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/resources/LeavenoTrace.aspx

 

If you have an interest in LNT topics, I'd highly recommend taking an LNT Trainer course, if there's one in your area. The national organization offers a variety of educational modules and programs that you can use with groups of all ages.

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Just don't use the "Scatter Method," i.e taking a stick and scattering it all over. Yes I was told that at one non-BSA outdoor training course in the 1990s.

 

Also make sure that however you do it, bag or cathole, just DO NOT do it in a field of poison ivy. I was told by the guy who did that it is not fun!

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The best cathole I've ever experienced was up in Manitoba on a NTier trek. An island in the middle of nowhere, walking across a clearing on moss so thick it felt like walking on a mattress. Found the perfect tree to lean against. The shovel penetrated the moss like a knife cutting the first piece of sponge cake. Extracted a plug just big enough. After finishing, used the plug for personal hygiene and replaced the plug neatly where I found it. So soft and refreshing. Just then, an eagle who I had not noticed sitting on a branch above me, let go and landed a greeting on my boot. I guess that's good luck, eh?

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So, my question is: Wouldn't making a "dirt toilet" be against LNT?

 

Just depends where yeh are, eh?

 

In most areas, makin' a single cathole for your deposit is fine if yeh choose the spot well away from a watercourse and use natural TP or pack your artificial stuff out. Makin' the sort of humongous multi-person pit latrine described in da 1960 handbook is not OK. Too much sh** in one place for the soil microbes to handle easily, and too attractive for critters.

 

Other places like river corridors there's just too much human traffic for the environment to handle all the deposits. Some popular rivers get tens of thousands of visitors a season or more. Imagine dumpin' 20,000 lbs of sh** along a narrow river bank. That's way more than the environment can handle. In those areas, no catholes. Yeh have to use a groover and pack it all out in a poo pod.

 

Still other places like deserts there just aren't enough soil microbes to handle things, eh? But there's lots of sunlight. So yeh deposit on da surface and spread it out for the sun to do its thing.

 

LNT is just the ethic, eh? "If everybody did what I do, would I enjoy it less comin' back here in 20 years?" Most of da places we go get lots of visitors, eh? Ten thousand piles of toilet paper doesn't make for great campin'. Heck, I'm turned off by just one pile, but it seems like it's becomin' more frequent in places I hike. Ten thousand lashed gadgets is a lot of natural wood bein' displaced. A few thousand giant campfires will really spoil a beautiful area.

 

What's really sad is how some scouter adults poo-poo the notion of LNT because it takes a bit of work and makes 'em learn a new trick or two. Like some of our woodlands, I reckon they're full of it.

 

Beavah

 

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I recall my last climb on Shasta just when a new policy was being implemented of packing the poo out.

 

The common gathering place on the mount is near Lake Helen at the 10 K level where hundreds of folks pitch camp and aclumate a wee bit befor pushing for the summit several days later. Needless to say, this "city" was producing a considerable amount of poo that had to be backpacked out by the seasonal rangers. Up to 40 pounds per load per man. Two to three rangers would spend their summer scurrying up and down Shasta collecting and carrying poo. Not a fun job, even if if the poo was frozen solid like a brick.

 

As I saw it then, and even now. It was good policy to make climbers responsible for cleaning up their own mess.

 

Now, years before the LNT craze, Royal Robins had been pushing a higher standard of backcountry ethics with his students. Our climbs in Yosemite saw us taking those ideals of Robin's and applying them. No longer did we use drop sacks, switched out pitons for nuts and chocks, and said no to routes that required bolts.

 

Now where I have problems with LNT is the lack of common sense I see in many instructors who just don't seem to understand that LNT has to be modified in established campgrounds with their pic nic tables, tent pads, and fire rings. The best you can do is to leave it cleaner then you found it, remove the trash out of the fire ring and clean up the outhouse. I just don't see myself packing out the pic nic tables, firerings, deconstructing the outhouses and returning the area back to it's natural state.

 

Additionally, I get irked when I gotta demonstrate my cat hole digging ability to a young LNT instructors who can't figure out that I've got over 50 years of backcounty experience behind me. Mostly in places where if you left any trace of your passing it would likely be the last day of your life.

 

Yes, LNT is good ideal,but it's gotta be applied with common sense. And the first place where LNT should kick in is in the planning stage for any back country adventure. Even here, when folks provide equipment list for the newbees you don't see much of any LNT applications in those list such as color of gear (visual pollution), or WAAG bags (for packing out poo).

 

Again, it's all about common sense and pride, treat the outdoors the same way you treat your home, and live your life.

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Now where I have problems with LNT is the lack of common sense I see in many instructors who just don't seem to understand that LNT has to be modified in established campgrounds with their pic nic tables, tent pads, and fire rings.

 

Yah, they seem to agree with you, Le Voyageur

 

http://www.lnt.org/programs/frontcountry.php

 

I think some BSA volunteers like Charlie Thorpe have been collaboratin' on the development of Frontcountry campin' ethic additions to LNT.

 

And the first place where LNT should kick in is in the planning stage for any back country adventure.

 

Yah, "Plan ahead and Prepare". Principle One. I reckon they'd agree with yeh on that, too :).

 

I get irked when I gotta demonstrate my cat hole digging ability to a young LNT instructors who can't figure out that I've got over 50 years of backcounty experience behind me.

 

Yah, darn it. I reckon I have 40 or so years of CPR experience, right from the very beginnin' when they started to teach it to the public. But I still have to demonstrate my CPR ability to a young CPR instructor every couple of years. ;)

 

Beavah

 

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Yah, darn it. I reckon I have 40 or so years of CPR experience, right from the very beginnin' when they started to teach it to the public. But I still have to demonstrate my CPR ability to a young CPR instructor every couple of years.

 

With the way the powers that be keep changing CPR training and techniques, won't be much longer before you have to recert every 3 months to stay current... ;)

 

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