Some unpaved roads are closed
Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »
Safety in Bear Country
Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »
New backcountry requirements in effect
Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »
Human Waste Disposal Restrictions and Vault Toilet Removal Announced for the Needles District
Contact: Keri Nelson, 435-719-2143
The National Park Service (NPS) has announced that overnight backcountry permit holders for Chesler Park and Elephant Canyon backpacking campsites and the Peekaboo vehicle campsite in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, will be required to pack out their human waste beginning September 22, 2013.
In addition, the NPS will be removing vault toilets in two of the district's backcountry locations, Paul Bunyan's Potty and the Peekaboo vehicle campsite. These toilets are being removed due to the increasing difficulty of servicing the toilets, and in an effort to return the areas to their remote backcountry condition.
Use of a toilet system that is either: 1) washable and reusable, allowing for the sanitary transfer of waste to sewage treatment facilities, or 2) of the type that treats solid waste with dry chemicals and is EPA approved for disposal in landfills (a.k.a. "wag bags") will be required.
Disposing of untreated human waste in landfills is prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Landfill safe waste bags must be disposed of in a designated human waste receptacle, and portable toilet system contents must be emptied into a designated sewage treatment/dump station facility. Dumping portable toilet system contents and/or putting wag bags into vault or flush toilets are prohibited.
Human waste in the backcountry is becoming a greater resource protection and human health concern as park visitation increases. Park officials encourage all visitors coming to enjoy the region's backcountry trails and roads to plan ahead for ensuring they can properly contain and dispose of their human waste.
Did You Know?
Pinyon pines do not produce pine nuts every year. These delicious nuts can only be harvested every three to seven years. This irregular schedule prevents animals from adapting to an abundance of pine nuts and guarantees that at least some nuts will become new pine trees instead of a quick meal. More...