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Seventy2002
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 10:27 am 
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80skeys wrote:
I wonder whether it's even possible for it to become endemic in Rocky mountain streams?

From the CDC's cholera information page: "Brackish and marine waters are the natural environment for the etiologic agents of cholera, Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. There are no known animal hosts for Vibrio cholerae, however, the bacteria attach themselves easily to the chitin-containing shells of crabs, shrimps, and other shellfish, which can be a source for human infections when eaten raw or undercooked."
[emphasis mine]
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Bedivere
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 10:36 am 
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In most areas, pack animals are required to be kept well away from lakes.

As for camping 200' away from water... really?  There are a TON of backcountry camp areas, well established over long periods of time that are right next to lakes and streams.  This "rule" makes sense to me in crowded/high traffic areas to preserve the flora and scenic character of a place, but in lightly visited areas where there are already well established camps it makes no sense to me be worried about it at all.

Relieve yourself well away from water, bury your poop appropriately, problem solved.

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mb
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 12:21 pm 
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In many places, cattle are now also kept away from streams. Cattle poop all sorts of pathogens.

It's expensive to do so, so not everywhere. Places like New York City spent a ton of money to pay farmers to fence streams and add water troughs a few decades ago for just this reason. May be difficult in open range!

Utah's interesting--in the Zion Narrows they tell you to pee right into the river. But it's high flow, and lots of visitors, and really no land -- so polluting the little land is way higher impact.


Camping? Dunno the origin of that other than riparian edges are often just fragile enough that it's best to limit impact? And wildlife impact--don't scare the animals with your tent.

(My worst camping spot ever? In a stream. Well, more of a rainwater retention dip  which wasn't full of water when we had to stop a canoe trip early due to the storm but was in the middle of the night.)

Clearly for one night in a remote place... you can do most anything low impact. Crowds are trouble anywhere and need hardened infrastructure. Send them back to the malls!
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Randito
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 1:25 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
So let's get back to my question: what's the rationale for not relieving oneself near the water, considering that horses and other pack animals - which poop near water a lot more - are permitted in many of those areas.

0) The farther human feces are from a stream or Lake, the more time soil bacteria will have to decompose the waste and for any pathogens to die off before entering the water.

1) Human borne diseases are transmitted from humans to humans.  Horse/Bear/Deer to human diseases are far less common.

2) The number of humans visiting popular locations vastly exceeds the numbers of wildlife populations.

3) Same issue with pack animals,  their numbers are small compared to human visitors.
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80skeys
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 2:39 pm 
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Seventy2002 wrote:
Brackish and marine waters are the natural environment for the etiologic agents of cholera, Vibrio cholerae serogroup O1 or O139. [u]There are no known animal hosts for Vibrio cholerae

Temperature is the biggest factor in cholera. So, it seems highly unlikely that cholera would persist in cold upper mountain streams, even if infected people were pooping in the waters up there, it would die out quickly. A google search of cholera in the Rocky Mountains uncovers nothing.
Bedivere wrote:
As for camping 200' away from water... really?  There are a TON of backcountry camp areas, well established over long periods of time that are right next to lakes and streams.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Most of the "established" campsites I've seen are much closer than 200' to water. Yet the "official recommedation" is always 200'. A contradiction.

Randito wrote:
1) Human borne diseases are transmitted from humans to humans.  Horse/Bear/Deer to human diseases are far less common.

Indeed, this is a compelling reason. Case in point: cholera. Although cholera probably cannot exist for long in cold, high mountain waters. But perhaps there could be other pathogens that are more hardy in those colder environments.

mb wrote:
In many places, cattle are now also kept away from streams.

For consistency's sake this makes more sense. If people aren't allowed near the streams, then livestock and pack animals should'be be either.

mb wrote:
Clearly for one night in a remote place... you can do most anything low impact. Crowds are trouble anywhere and need hardened infrastructure. Send them back to the malls!

Amen to that.

I'm not saying we can go pooping and urinating near the water, I'm just calling attention to some of the inconsistencies with the rules and regulations.
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PostSat Aug 22, 2020 4:43 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
"...campsites I've seen are much closer than 200' to water..."

And I'd posit that those campsites were already well-established long ago, prior to the recommendation and establishment of regulations requiring that campsites be set up at least 200 feet away from streams and lakes.

We used to do all kinds of stupid stuff out in the woods. Just because "we used to do it that way" doesn't necessarily mean we should keep doing it that way.

Lands management agencies' regulations generally require that pack animals be tethered back away from any bodies of water, unless the driver is leading them down for a drink (but the stock packers I've encountered usually carry a bucket of some sort so the animals can be watered away from streams or lakes.)

the National Park Service wrote:
Pack and stock animals may not be left unattended. They must be staked away from water sources (at least 300 feet) and away from vegetation where possible, and may not be unstaked and hobbled. Animals may be tethered to the horse or stock trailer, in the parking areas of designated campsites.


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Sky Hiker
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PostSun Aug 23, 2020 5:45 am 
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So back to the threads original question. It sounds like you were in a pretty remote are with a lack of human disturbance there. I think you were then justified in you camping spot choice. I have been to many cross country areas and lakes where it appeared I was the only one that has been there that year. I found it acceptable to then camp at a spot like you mentioned in #3.
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Bedivere
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PostSun Aug 23, 2020 10:52 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
Bedivere wrote:
As for camping 200' away from water... really?  There are a TON of backcountry camp areas, well established over long periods of time that are right next to lakes and streams.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Most of the "established" campsites I've seen are much closer than 200' to water. Yet the "official recommedation" is always 200'. A contradiction.

A contradiction of what?  The recommendation is to camp 200+' away.  Sometimes that's not feasible or sensible.  It's only a recommendation.  Another recommendation is to use hardened areas, or areas that have already been well established and not carve out/beat down new camp spots.  If existing camp spots are within 200', so be it.  You're violating one recommendation in order to follow another, the violation of which would lead to a larger overall impact.

The whole point of LNT is not to leave absolutely no trace whatsoever.  Until they invent anti-gravity boots that's just not going to happen. The goal is to minimize the impact of each individual user as much as possible/practical.  That can get carried to extremes, though.  I was just told the other day by someone that people using floaties in high alpine lakes (Enchantments, where else?) is a violation of LNT ethics.  They were worried about the impact of chemicals leaching out of the cheap plastics on those lakes and they threw in their totally subjective view that polluting the scenery with inflatable unicorns and donuts somehow is in violation of the clause in the Wilderness act that goes on about "untrammeled by man."   Personally, I'm of the mindset that says as long as you treat the landscape and those around you with a modicum of respect (no chopping down snags, no trampling flower meadows, no washing your dishes or self with soap in the lake, no blasting loud music, etc.), and you take all your garbage with you, then have at it and do whatever you want.  One of the reasons to get out in the Wilderness is to get away from all the BS, including needlessly overbearing rules and regulations, that encumber our mundane lives.

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80skeys
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 11:53 am 
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Bedivere wrote:
A contradiction of what?

It's a contradiction of the fact that the agencies making the 200' recommendation are the same agencies maintaining campgrounds that are only 30' from the water.

I'm just pointing out the contradiction. I'm not taking one side or the other. i'm just saying that if agencies are going to recommend something, then they should follow through and lead by example.

Personally, I'm definitely not someone who follows these recommendations literally. In fact I don't really think the 200' foot rule is necessary for those of us who are respectful of the land. And by respectful I just mean basic stuff, like, don't throw thrash into the river. That's about it.

We don't need to go overboard with it. I burn my thrash each night in the campfire. As long as it burns thoroughly I don't bother packing any of it out.

To poop, I go off trali a little, poop, use disposable wipes, and cover it with a rock. That's it.

So basically I agree with everything you said in your post. In fact some of you probably would consider I'm being "too disrespctful of the wilderness."

But I think the people who are getting on their high horse about not taking float tubes into alpine lakes would be better advised to put their energy and efforts on the big picture: CO2 emissions, methane emissions, cutting down trees, etc. Things that are causing way more impact on a global level.
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Randito
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 5:36 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
are the same agencies maintaining campgrounds that are only 30' from the water.

You seem to have a misconception of what constitutes a "backcountry campsite".    It's not like car camping campgrounds where each site is numbered , has a steel fire ring, a picnic table, a leveled tent pad, etc.

Backcountry campsites aren't generally built or maintained by USFS personnel on national forest lands. 

It is true that USFS personnel will deconstruct hiker built fire rings and replant vegetation in campsites in poor locations.

I have also witnessed USFS personnel talking with some backpackers that had setup their tent within ten feet of the shore of lower Robin Lake.
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80skeys
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 5:51 pm 
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Randito wrote:
You seem to have a misconception of what constitutes a "backcountry campsite".    It's not like car camping campgrounds where each site is numbered , has a steel fire ring, a picnic table, a leveled tent pad, etc.

I just assumed the places I normally camp at in the backcountry are built/maintained in some fashion by some agency or other, seeing as how they are usually on established trails and at lakes and whatnot. And the Forest Service peoplethemselves are definitely using the same locations for their own purposes, so I figured the campsites must meet their approval.

But, as you point out, maybe I'm wrong. It could be most of these are just the result of regular people and the Forest Service doesn't bother with it.
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Aug 24, 2020 5:58 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
It's a contradiction of the fact that the agencies making the 200' recommendation are the same agencies maintaining campgrounds that are only 30' from the water.

I'm just pointing out the contradiction. I'm not taking one side or the other. i'm just saying that if agencies are going to recommend something, then they should follow through and lead by example.

That is true; some back country sites are awfully close to a lakeshore. Surprise Lake is one example; there are sites closer than 200'. Some other lakes as well.

Those sites were pounded in before the 200' rule. Doesn't make it right to keep those sites, but the USFS can only do so much.

RE: car campgrounds. Different ball of wax.

The 200' setback is primarily a wilderness rule.

But I personally don't get all wigged out it. Pointing fingers and saying, "well how about this!" will just cause a vein to burst. Maybe an important one. So I choose to just do the right thing depending on where I am at the time. I'd never in a million years camp at Surprise Lake on purpose for pleasure, so not sure what I'd do if I were a regular Joe not knowing the various rules. I've seen people camp 2 feet from the Day Use sign, thinking it was OK to camp there, since there's no vegetation anywhere near, the place has been so SO hammered over the years.

Sorry for the ramble, damn that after-lunch coffee was strong.

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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Aug 25, 2020 5:37 am 
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Sure was
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Bedivere
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PostTue Aug 25, 2020 5:26 pm 
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80skeys wrote:
I burn my thrash each night in the campfire. As long as it burns thoroughly I don't bother packing any of it out.

I really hope you're not burning plastics.  Burning plastics releases a LOT of VERY nasty chemicals.  Plastic packaging doesn't weigh anything, pack it out please.

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Sallie4jo
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PostWed Sep 02, 2020 7:34 am 
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I just have to say..i think it would be easier to train an animal than humans about backcoutry toileting etiquette given this thread and what i have seen over the years.  Too many people seem to not think about there actions and what impact those actions have.  Look at COBID 19..seems the greater good has been lost in "my freedom ". We people are a mess.  The animals take way better care of mother earth.

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