Yosemite Creek below John Muir Cabin Site, Yosemite National Park. Trails like John Muir have recently encountered problems with human poop being left behind. (Photo by: Ron Reznick/VW Pics/UIG via Getty Images)

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National Parks Are Having a Poop Crisis

Too much human waste is being left near hiking trails.

America’s national parks have a big problem and it’s not pretty: human poop is becoming a greater and greater nuisance on trails. The side effects of this growing trend are obvious: it’s unpleasant, it puts hikers into closer contact with disease risks, and it can contaminate water supplies.

The phenomenon of people leaving their poop, which takes a full year to biodegrade, on hiking trails has been significantly severe at Mt. Whitney, Denali, Zion, and John Muir. Mt. Whitney has even implemented “pack-out your own poop” policy for its campers, requiring them to responsibly dispose of their waste.

The origin of the trend has to do with simple population growth. National parks have enjoyed incredible increases in visits the past several years, which of course means of course more people leaving their waste near the trails. “Now people are really into trying out the backcountry for the first time… which is great, but unfortunately they show up uninformed an unprepared,” Cesar Cardenas, a regular California hiker, told Vice.

Read the full story at Vice