Health & Wellness

Know How to Go When Nature Calls in Utah's Outdoors

By Nancy Mesner |

Summer is the perfect time to head outdoors, but more people camping, hiking and biking on public lands means more people who have to “go” in places without bathroom facilities. is a new website with tips and resources on how to enjoy Utah’s public lands by learning responsible outdoor bathroom etiquette. It starts with the idea that as we all heed nature’s call, keeping public lands and water bodies healthy and beautiful is everyone’s responsibility.
“Recreation on Utah’s public lands increases every year,” said Nancy Mesner of Utah State University Water Quality Extension, who spearheaded the campaign funded by the Utah Division of Water Quality. “This year presents new challenges as budget crunches due to the coronavirus have forced bathroom facilities and campgrounds to be closed in some areas. Learn how and where to easily pack it out so future visitors can have as nice of an experience as you had.” 

Utahns are encouraged to explore prior to venturing farther than bathroom facilities, whether it is in a forest, desert or alpine area, to learn how to easily dispose of waste and toilet paper while enjoying Utah’s public lands. RV campers can also find an interactive map of all RV dump stations around the state so they will never be stuck searching after a camping trip.
Here are some quick and dirty tips:

  • Go before you go—use an outhouse or bathroom before you head out.
  • In many places, it is best to dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep, and far away from water, trails and campsites.
  • In some delicate environments, such as deserts and alpine forests, it’s best to pack it out. Visit the website for tips.

Be prepared for when you gotta go on your next trip outdoors. For more information, visit


Nancy Mesner
Water Quality Extension Specialist
Utah State University



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