Back when I used to have an office job I was called the poop queen.
I am sure you can imagine all kinds of scenarios that would lead to that nickname but I assure you the real reason is far less amusing. I was a Water Quality Specialist in charge of making sure the lake, stream and ocean water in our community stayed clean (or at least making sure it didn’t get any worse). In my 10-year career, I learned about all kinds of nasty and seemingly harmless things that could dirty our water.
One of the biggest water quality issues is pet waste – or rather, not picking it up. I became the poop queen because I took it upon myself do research absolutely everything there was to know about dog poop disposal methods. In our area, the “best” way to dispose of pet waste is by picking it up in a poop bag and throwing it in the trash. The good news is that most dog owners in Eco-conscious Seattle have gotten the message.
Unfortunately, some seem to have only gotten part of the message.
On our hike to Annette Lake last week, I found two poop bags laying on the side of the trail. It’s an all-too common occurrence. Now, I know what you may be thinking – Maybe people are setting them there so they don’t have to carry them and are going to pick them up on their way back down the trail.
I am sure that some people do. However, I have seen orphaned trailside poop bags that look like they have seen a few days or weeks. Obviously, some of these bags have been forgotten. People aren’t getting the message that you absolutely cannot scoop poop on the trail and then leave it on the side of the trail. That is even worse for the environment that never picking it up at all!
The message to hikers should be that you carry your full poop bags with you.
Sounds yucky? Well, it’s part of being a responsible dog parent out in the environment where other people recreate (who wants to see poop bags on the side of the trail on your beautiful nature hike anyway?)
I bring a gallon Ziplock bag to put the poop bags and they seal in the stink. I don’t even know I am carrying them (PS…don’t forget to take them out of your pack when you are done. Take it from me, it’s not pretty if you do).
If you carry them with you, there is no way you are going to forget to pick them up.
On our hike to Lake Annette I made a pledge to myself. I know some people who pick up other people’s dog poop if they find it on the street. I have been known to do that sometimes too. This pledge I made is that I will carry an extra gallon Ziplock bag with me on hikes and pick up, and carry out, all abandoned poop bags that I find. That is going to be my contribution to preserving nature and protecting water quality. I want these things to be there forever and I don’t want dogs to be banned from hiking trails because of irresponsible pet parents.
Would you pick up someone else’s dog poop?