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‘Just wrong and shameful’: Visitors slammed for trashing Yosemite with toilet paper

LOS ANGELES — Next time you’re hiking through the wilderness at Yosemite National Park, you might stumble upon something that soils the park’s majestic scenery.

Park officials posted a photo on Instagram on Tuesday of multiple toilet paper rolls — including used scraps of bathroom tissue — abandoned near Rancheria Falls. It appears that many campers or hikers bring in the toilet paper for personal hygiene but neglect to throw it in a trash container or pack it out.

“If you bring toilet paper out on your trips, please pack it out too,” according to the post. “You can bring a sealable plastic baggie to stash it in, and even cover the bag in tape so you don’t have to look at it. Because really, nobody wants to stumble upon a surprise package left behind by an anonymous outdoor enthusiast.”

Park officials recommended visitors not bury toilet paper because it can be easily exposed by erosion and weather. Animals can also dig up the trash or even use it as nesting material. The material can take up to three years to decompose.

Yosemite is one of the nation’s most popular national parks, attracting millions of visitors every year. During a trash cleanup last September, cigarette butts, Starbucks cups, energy bar wrappers, water bottles, hair bands, microplastic fragments and receipts were among the most common items found.

Litter has also been a problem in other national parks and monuments, lakes and recreation areas. Last year, volunteers collected more than 4 tons of trash on the shores and in the water of Lake Tahoe, most of it left behind by July 4 revelers.

The post by national park officials drew dozens of comments, mostly by wilderness enthusiasts who slammed visitors who trash the park.

“This is happening at all parks, beaches and beautiful places like Yosemite. People need to be respectful and responsible,” one user commented. “Just wrong and shameful. I can walk the streets by my home or go out hiking and the trash left by those who obviously are selfish and don’t care is everywhere. I bring a bag every time I go, just to do my part and pick up what others leave behind.”

Another person commented that they were seeing this happen “all too often.”

“If you’re too lazy to take it back out after carrying it in, DON’T go. The wilderness doesn’t want you,” they wrote.

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