Portable toilets now available at some trailheads

KEENE – Portable toilets have been placed at five popular hiking trailheads in time for the summer season.

The facilities have been placed via a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement led by the AuSable River Association along busy State Route 73, at the trailhead to Cascade Mountain, the Roaring Brook Falls trailhead, Chapel Pond and the Giant Ridge trailhead. The porta-johns will remain there through Columbus Day in October.

Brendan Wiltse, the AuSable River Association’s science and stewardship director, said the increase came after his group, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the state Department of Environmental Conservation spoke within the past two months about the need for the facilities and increased education of hikers about proper disposal of human waste.

“We have been so successful along the river, they just approached us and asked to expand at trailhead locations to see the same successes there. We know with the number of people at those locations, some sort of facilities are needed.”

Julia Goren of the Adirondack Mountain Club said these heavily used trails have experienced a “significant problem” with improperly disposed human waste in recent years. The press release also claimed more than a million people visit the watershed each year, and the area has seen an increasing percentage of day hikers versus overnight hikers.

Morrisonville Septic of Cadyville provides the facilities, and Wiltse said the AuSable River Association was successful in raising the necessary funds and placing the toilets at the trailheads in time for Memorial Day. Each location’s facilities are sponsored by local businesses at a cost of $550, which covers the full cost.

This is the sixth summer the association has organized a porta-john program to improve proper disposal of human waste throughout the watershed. Along with the five new locations, there are now more than a dozen locations through the East and West branches of the AuSable River that have facilities for the summer hiking season. Wiltse said they are all used “pretty frequently” and mentioned the Copperas Pond trailhead as one very frequently used.

He said the expansion this year covered “the major gaps,” and there are no specific plans to expand to other locations in the area.

Facilities are also located at the Flume trailhead in Wilmington, Monument Falls, River Road (by the bridge near the Olympic ski jumps), at a pullout on Route 9N in Upper Jay and in downtown Wilmington at the Lake Everest scenic bridge location. Porta-johns have also been placed at the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington and the Brew Castle in Keene. Most local businesses have public restrooms in addition to porta-johns, but the Brew Castle does not have a public restroom available to patrons and agreed to list its own porta-john on the AuSable River Association’s map.

Barkeater Trail Alliance, the Hungry Trout Fly Shop, the Ironman Foundation, the Tri-Lakes chapter of Trout Unlimited, The Fallen Arch, Sub Alpine Coffee and Mountain Tomboy are the other local sponsors.