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Where there are humans, there’s poop—and in the absence of bathroom facilities, some inexperienced hikers have been creating a, well, shitty situation on Colorado’s trails since the beginning of the pandemic-fueled boom in outdoor recreation, leaving waste and toilet paper unburied and flagged with TP or hidden under rocks. Now, a new campaign from the Colorado Tourism Office aims to give hikers the tools they need to better manage their bathroom time—literally.
As part of the “Doo Colorado Right” Campaign, the office is giving away 3,500 PACT Lite kits, which include a lightweight trowel, ultracompact, biodegradable wipe tablets, and mycelia tablets users can drop in their catholes to help decompose their waste. Besides PACT, the office is running the initiative in conjunction with Gunnison Crested Butte, which received so many pandemic-era campers that land managers closed down dispersed camping in some areas, citing, among other issues, improper disposal of human waste.
Jake Thomas, one of the founders of PACT, told Denver’s KDVR that the rise in poorly handled poop situations in the outdoors is largely a result of hikers either lacking the knowledge or the equipment to properly manage their bathroom breaks in the absence of facilities, and that PACT’s kits (which Backpacker has reviewed) were an attempt to find a solution.
“For us, when we saw the increase in this rising poop problem we realized that we have kits for everything we do outdoors,” Thomas said. “We have first aid kits, we have cook kits and these kits make it easier to be prepared. So why, if going to the bathroom is something we generally do every day, do we not have simple easy-to-use kits for people to poop in the woods?”
Poor disposal of human waste has caused serious issues in high-traffic hiking areas around Colorado. The situation has gotten so bad that a growing number of destinations, including some popular parts of the Eagle Holy-Cross Ranger District near Vail, are now requiring visitors to pack out their own poop.
Colorado will distribute the kits beginning today and continuing for as long as supplies are available. For a list of locations where you can grab one, see the map below.