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Slowest_Hiker

Winter Creek, Hoegees, and Loos

The gods of Chantry parking smiled upon us and we got a quick winter creek loop in.  There's plenty of water in the campground and everywhere -- really good to see and hear.  A section of road right at the start past the gate is one lane, evidently due to some problems in the rain, so we'll see how it fares in what's to come.  

Users of ANF restrooms, bring your shovel.   Shocked   We saw guys in ANF T-shirts taking photos of these signs on the loos, so we think they had just placed them and were photographing the evidence:

DSC00561 by moore91024, on Flickr

I wonder if Spruce Grove is similarly afflicted, but I didn't get around there today.   A quick look around the web yielded nothing about recent EPA action.
robow8

So the EPA thinks it's better to have human waste all over the place instead of two localized areas?

Thanks for the heads up, or should I say, head's down!
mattmaxon

I am guessing this is an old time pit toilet?

Not sure the sign is accurate... The gist is probably so...

It would be nice if people will comply with the backcountry disposal recommendations but I don't see it happening.

I'd be interested to see if a there is a fecal coliform bacteria spike in Santa Anita Creek after this closure.

The newer prefabricated vault toilets contain the waste much more effectively

CTX Concrete Buildings
Slowest_Hiker

robow8 wrote:
So the EPA thinks it's better to have human waste all over the place instead of two localized areas?
mattmaxon wrote:

Not sure the sign is accurate... The gist is probably so...

It would be nice if people will comply with the backcountry disposal recommendations but I don't see it happening.


I had the same thoughts.  I carried out a sackful of trash collected from a fire pit, bringing attention to the fact that instructions are not really being attended to...   Confused

Hate to say that I also had questions about the veracity of the EPA statement (one wonders how the cabin outhouses wouldn't be the same). In any case, they definitely aren't the prefab ones that are being placed now.
robnokshus

We'll see how long that lasts after January 20th.
robow8

Slowest_Hiker wrote:
I had the same thoughts.  I carried out a sackful of trash collected from a fire pit, bringing attention to the fact that instructions are not really being attended to...   Confused

Hate to say that I also had questions about the veracity of the EPA statement (one wonders how the cabin outhouses wouldn't be the same). In any case, they definitely aren't the prefab ones that are being placed now.


I haven't been in a while, but I usually take a trash bag and fill it up at Hoegees.

I remember the days when they had trash cans there. The raccoons loved that!
HikeUp

I don't pick up anyone's trash.
RichardK

Trash

I like to leave the back country just a little bit better than I found it.
robow8

Re: Trash

RichardK wrote:
I like to leave the back country just a little bit better than I found it.


Me too. And sometimes that includes a little educating of offenders.
AW

Just think of it this way....at least there is $15 million for the grabbers to 'improve' the east fork road. There is only so much to go around and this isnt in the monument to Obama so...

And the grabbers sent a letter to the FS recently...to fix the pipes at Chilao.
Those pipes were a FS project over a decade ago....so its a long line to be in.

"It supplies the Chilao Fire Station and barracks, a key facility safeguarding the core of the Monument."...hmm...didnt say whether this is about protecting the planted trees to combat global warming, or a policy position on fire suppression. Or why the bulldozers running around over there? Weird.
robnokshus

I went online and located the contact information for the director of the Southern California Office of the EPA's District 9:

Steven Leonido-John
Director
(213) 244-1804
(leonido-john.steven@epa.gov)

I am in the process of sending an email questioning the logic of this decision. I would suggest, if you feel strongly enough, that you call or email your questions/concerns as well.
robnokshus

Here is a copy of the email I just sent to the EPA:

Good day,

I have recently become aware of the closing of the pit toilets at Hoegee's Campground in the Angeles National Forest. I have attached a photo of the notice that has been tacked upon the, now locked, door of the outhouse.

As a hiker/backpacker who frequently visits the Angeles National Forest, I am baffled by this action and am interested in learning the reasoning behind this decision.

This particular area of the Angeles National Forest (ANF) is an extremely popular and heavily trafficked area, being as it is only minutes away from the City of Los Angeles. Hikers and backpackers, both novice and experienced visit this area every day.  Not only are these loos convenient and appreciated by the general public, they are also vital in keeping a very popular area free of human waste and the attendant toilet paper and other debris associated with the elimination of human waste.

Not knowing the EPA's rationale for their closure, I can only assume it is out of a concern to protect the environment and/or water quality in the canyon. I am afraid that this action will have the exact opposite effect. Per the notice tacked onto the loo, basic back country elimination practices have been explained and the general public is expected to abide by these instructions. I can tell you with utmost certainty, this will NEVER happen! The area around the campground does not provide suitable cover or terrain conducive to the elimination of human waste (steep hillsides on one side, the creek on the other. Not to mention that poison oak and rattlesnakes abound in both areas.

The result of this action, I fear, will be human waste and toilet paper EVERYWHERE! On the trails, in the campsites, in the creek, behind and around the cabins... In short, this action will cause a greater environmental impact than what it is attempting to alleviate.

I would urge you to look into this matter further before the degradation of this beautiful area begins in earnest with the arrival of spring and the attendant hordes that will descend upon the canyon.

I hope that you will will give this matter the consideration it deserves. the ANF serves the recreational needs of millions of Angelenos, many of whom have little or no experience in the woods. This is a disaster in the making.

I thank you for taking the time to read my email. I would certainly appreciate a reply, but understand the size and scope of the EPA's mission may prevent you from doing so.

Thank you again.
Slowest_Hiker

My most popular thread ever is about toilets!  Awesome!  Mr. Green

HikeUp wrote:
I don't pick up anyone's trash.


I do limit it to clean-ish plastic and mylar items and use an inverted trash bag.  Paper products of unknown provenance is a bit much (see above, "attendant toilet paper"). Shocked
SGBob

Re: Winter Creek, Hoegees, and Loos

Slowest_Hiker wrote:
Users of ANF restrooms, bring your shovel.   Shocked   We saw guys in ANF T-shirts taking photos of these signs on the loos, so we think they had just placed them and were photographing the evidence:


I think we crossed paths again.

If it was the 8th around sunset, that was us. We were taking pictures because we had just been informed of the action when we encountered a FS employee on the Upper Winter Creek train informing us that he had come back from placing the locks. We have our suspicions about the order. The EPA's page doesn't show anything. My own personal suspicion is that this "order" originates from the Forest Service HQ in Arcadia and the EPA is a convenient scapegoat, but I can't back up that hunch yet.
Slowest_Hiker

Re: Winter Creek, Hoegees, and Loos

SGBob wrote:
I think we crossed paths again.


Well, hi! Very Happy  But I'm not sure the times line up.  I took that photo at 1:30 pm as we were departing.  Maybe we saw the same FS person(s)?  We passed them on the way out; they had pulled off the trail among some rocks and they had radios.  I thought it was 2 of them.

Guess that was a very well-photographed loo that day!
SGBob

If you saw a man with a mustache and a woman, that was the USFS employee that placed the locks. If you saw a fat guy in a light green Forest Service polo shirt with another guy with a radio then it was us. We we heading towards Hoegee's on the Upper Winter Creek around 14:00.
Slowest_Hiker

Ha, yes it was definitely the mustache guy I saw; didn't really get a look at anyone else.  We almost must have passed you going the other way on the Upper Winter Creek but I guess I wasn't paying attention.  Heck, maybe we passed right as the 4 of you were talking.  We were a tallish guy and a short gal with a long braid and giant-brimmed hat.  You may recognize us from Blue Ridge Rd  Very Happy
robow8

So I was up at Hoegees Friday night/Saturday. There is already quite a bit of toilet paper around, some of it quite close to the creek. Saw some volunteers at Roberts Camp on Saturday and told them about the mess. They said that the FS is fighting the closures, that the info about Hoegees was helpful, and that they would try to get documentation to help with the fight. They also said that the EPA wants to close the toilets at Spruce Grove as well.

So if you happen to be up at Hoegees, you might take some photos of toilet paper and send them to the proper authorities.
Slowest_Hiker

This is weird.  Does somebody actually think that (er...) dispersed elimination is the best solution here?  It's not the back country.  I mean, DeVore (restroom-free and I'm cool with that) is one thing but Hoegee's is another.  They should have estimated utilization numbers for the campgrounds that establish whether backcountry procedures are appropriate.  Could it be someone's trying to motivate the FS to drop in a new prefab john or something?
psykokid

I went for a run this morning down the Gabrielino, up and over Zion and back to Chantry via Upper Winter Creek. The bathrooms at Cascade and Spruce Grove were locked, with no signage like the ones at Hogees had.
Sean

Slowest_Hiker wrote:
Does somebody actually think that (er...) dispersed elimination is the best solution here?  It's not the back country.


I don't have a strong opinion either way--at least not yet. I guess it partly depends on your definition of "back country." I don't think a truck can reach Hoegee's. So maintenance must be more of a hassle. What's the difference between a back country and walk-in campground?

A good argument for keeping the pit toilets might be privacy and cleanliness issues at a popular stream-side campground, where litter and pollution are already concerns.

But until we learn the reasoning behind the closures, I'll continue to assume that it's a federal conspiracy to drive humans out of the wilderness.
Slowest_Hiker

psykokid wrote:
I went for a run this morning down the Gabrielino, up and over Zion and back to Chantry via Upper Winter Creek. The bathrooms at Cascade and Spruce Grove were locked, with no signage like the ones at Hogees had.


Thanks for the report.

ANF amenities listings would appear to be out of date.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41704
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41702
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recarea/?recid=41820

Sean wrote:
I don't think a truck can reach Hoegee's.

True enough.  I had thought once before that those are about the only non-driveable restrooms in the ANF.  I thought they had a different arrangement for servicing them.  Maybe that fell through.

Sorry to see the area probably get grunged up.  Bit crowded for my taste now, but Spruce Grove was my very first beginner overnight backpack trip.
robow8

Toilets at Hoegees and Roberts Camp are open for now. According to a volunteer I saw, they've been opened and closed a few times. But open for now.

Hoegees was a fricken mess. I packed out a trash compactor bag stuffed full of trash, and If I had more room, I'm sure I could have doubled my pleasure.
Slowest_Hiker

robow8 wrote:
According to a volunteer I saw, they've been opened and closed a few times.


Must be some exciting debates going on behind the scenes.  Confused

Thanks for the news.
HikeUp

I lament the days when the only way you heard about these plaecs to hike and camp was if you bought Robinson's guides. Now every low life loser scumbag knows about these places because of the internet and social moronathon sites and they drive up and shit all over the place. People suck.
RichardK

HikeUp wrote:
I lament the days when the only way you heard about these plaecs to hike and camp was if you bought Robinson's guides. Now every low life loser scumbag knows about these places because of the internet and social moronathon sites and they drive up and shit all over the place. People suck.


Well, isn't this discussion board on the internet publicizing these places?
HikeUp

Yes, but only to a very select community of people who don't suck.  Wink
psykokid

We took some scouts from my sons troop up to Spruce Grove last night for a quick overnighter. The bathrooms were open.

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