Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority has launched a new pilot scheme to encourage campers to toilet responsibly in the outdoors.
In recent years, this particular national park has been at the forefront of the debate about the future of wild camping. In response to an increase in littering and other irresponsible behaviour, the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park imposed widely criticised camping bans and permit areas in certain regions of the park. Now they have launched a new information campaign in an attempt to tackle the problem of human waste. While more education is always good, is a combination of signage and ranger intervention the best way to tackle it? We’re still working out what we think, but to find out how the Authority plan to tackle this problem, read one…
“Shhh! It happens…”
How to dispose responsibly of human waste in the outdoors can be a bit of a “ta-poo” subject (Ed: their joke, not ours) but the National Park Authority say they hope to “take the embarrassment out of something everyone does, by launching a trial project to help people know what to do when they need a poo in the National Park. When nature calls, many people are unsure of how to ‘do their business’ without leaving a lasting impact on the environment when no facilities are available”.
The trial is being rolled out over July and August in three popular visitor sites within the national park – including the controversial Suie Field camping permit site – with each location using a different way of trying to change behaviour and reduce irresponsible toileting. This will be supported by wider awareness raising on social media and the national park’s website.
Sites in Loch Earn, the Trossachs and West Loch Lomond have been chosen as locations for the trial due to their ongoing issues with human waste.
The National Park Authority say that “eye-catching, awareness-raising posters” will be displayed at Loch Earn, using the “nudge effect to encourage people to do the right thing and including information on where the nearest public toilets are”.
At Three Lochs Forest Drive in the Trossachs, trowels will be available for campers to borrow with advice on how to bury their poo in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code guidance.
Suie Field in West Loch Lomond will be trialling the most radical approach with campers being asked to “bag it and bin it” as they would with dog poo. Campers will be provided with a pack that includes biodegradable poo bags as well as an outer “modesty” bag with information on how to pack out their waste. A hygienic drop bin will be on site for campers to drop their used poo packs into. The poo bin will also have awareness-raising information and advice printed on it.
Throughout the trial, the National Park Authority will also be running an online campaign to raise awareness of the issue, including encouraging visitors to “go before you go”, and highlighting a map of all public toilets in the area. National Park Rangers will also be talking to visitors, providing advice and information about responsible toileting.
The trials will be closely monitored and at the end “all the information from each site will be evaluated and compared to data collected in previous years to see what, if any, intervention worked best and could potentially be used more widely across the National Park in the future”.
To find out more about the trial or for advice about responsible toileting, visit lochlomond-trossachs.org/needtopoo.