Human Waste Disposal
Nothing can spoil a river trip as quickly as the discovery of human waste or toilet paper at a prime camping spot. To protect the quality of the Rio Grande ecosystem and enhance the wilderness experience of a river trip, all users must properly dispose of human waste.
The National Park Service requires all commercial outfitters and private river parties to carry out their solid human waste on overnight trips.
River users may carry out solid human waste either in reusable toilets (bagless systems) or by using a blue-bag system (which chemically alters the bag's contents into an inert substance). Reusable toilets may be rented from local outfitters. Restop or Wag Bag (single-use bag systems) can be purchased at park bookstores in Big Bend National Park, or ordered online from a variety of merchants.
Reusable toilet dump sites are located at the Santa Elena take-out (Santa Elena river trips), the Rio Grande Village campground (Mariscal Canyon trips), Heath Canyon Ranch Resort (river trips exiting Boquillas Canyon at Heath Canyon), and at the Dryden Mercantile or Canyon RV Park in Sanderson (for Lower Canyons excursions). There is a small fee for use of any of the dump stations outside the park.Day users are encouraged to also use a containment system.
Did You Know?
Since 2000, the number of undocumented aliens apprehended attempting to cross through the area of the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River has risen from 120 to 1200 annually. This traffic results in negative impacts on park resources, including erosion and trash.