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May 2016 Issue
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At Hinapouri Tarn, toilet paper blows in the wind

Poo with a view? Campers are not removing or burying their waste at tarn-side campsites in the Angelus Basin. Photo: Jeremy Sanson

Beating the crowds in Nelson Lakes National Park by finding a remote tarn to camp beside is a popular objective of many visitors. Too many, according to DOC.

Wilderness has often promoted the virtues of camping beside idyllic Hinapouri Tarn, just off Robert Ridge and near Angelus Hut. But it appears this option, and others in the wider Angelus Basin, is becoming too popular and human waste is now a blight on the scenery.

“We have had reports through the summer of toilet paper blowing around within the basin,” said DOC’s Nelson Lakes operations manager John Wotherspoon.

“Any camping above the bushline is hard on the environment. Toilet waste doesn’t break down as quickly – it’s colder and there is less microbe and insect activity.

“The Angelus basin is an intensely used space visited by many without the necessary know-how, or motivation, to bury waste.”

Wotherspoon added that DOC would prefer to see less camping at Hinapouri Tarn.

“Our preference is certainly for people to camp close to the hut and use the hut facilities,” he said. From late November to April 30, the hut and campground needs to be booked. Camping costs $10/person and the fee allows for the use of the hut for cooking. Outside these dates, camping is just $5/person.

For those who do want to camp at a remote tarn, bury it or bag it and carry it out.