Okay: youre a half mile up the Little Colorado
and that third cup of coffee wants out. Which way do you point? Or maybe youre up
above Deer Creek in the shade and a passenger has to tinkle. Where do you direct him/her?
How about at the main pool at Elves? Or at the first crossing at Havasu?
The question is often brought up, but few people know the answer. And is that
answer appropriate in every situation? Well, lets talk about it.
Here are the rules:
The River regulations state that:
Urine must go,
1) in the Colorado River,
2) below the high water line in the wet sand or
3) in the toilet. Period.
No soap or any other product may go in side streams or within 100
yards of the streams confluence with the Colorado. Period.
On the other hand, the backcountry regulations state that:
Urination will take place at least 100 feet from any side stream.
The boundary between River and Backcountry is not well defined but can be
loosely defined as 1/4 to 1/2 mile from the river.
That sums it up, at least in terms of the legalities. In many spots the back
country regulation can be followed without any problem and with little chance of odor
building up. In others, however, fragile soils or sheer cliffs may prevent getting a
hundred feet from the stream or even off the trail. This situation can be exacerbated when
it is a heavily used area, such as the Little C or Havasu. But if peeing in the stream
were legalized, what about the low volume streams such as Elves and Deer Creek? Ick.
Would a carry it out policy work? Ummmmm
What to do?
Always suggest that bladders be emptied before a side hike begins.
State the rules for backcountry peeing.
Do your best.
Write Whuddyathink? with suggestions on how, if at
all, the rules should be changed or amended. Think about it. Its tricky.