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Lower Wisconsin State RiverwayGarbage and waste — leave no trace

Try to imagine 1,000 people on the Wisconsin River on a hot summer weekend. Then try to imagine the waste they will create. Anglers, campers, and sunbathers all generate waste in the riverway-it's a fact of life.

Carry-in; carry-out

People must take the trash they create with them. We have a "carry-in, carry-out" policy. Riverway law requires a waterproof container for trash in every boat/canoe and glass containers are prohibited. But what about the other stuff?

Human waste

Human wastes don't have to have an adverse affect on the river if disposed of properly. Nobody likes to find them by accident when they are disposed of improperly. To properly dispose of such waste requires little effort. Find a place where there is some vegetative shelter and soil mixed with the sand. Simply dig a hole 6 inches deep to bury your group's waste. Deeper is not better since it inhibits the bacteria that breaks down the waste. Shallower depths increase the chance it will be exposed by wind or high water. Lastly, provide a paper sack for used toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. Either pack the sack out or burn it right before you douse your campfire.


Please, don't bury campfires, sand will smother but not extinguish the fire, and it will burn for hours or even days. People walking barefoot on sandbars can severely burn their feet in a thinly buried fire pit. Try to use up all the charred firewood; blackened logs are unsightly and mar the beauty of a sandbar.

If you carry along a plastic grocery sack, you have a handy water carrier to put out your campfire and it will serve double duty as a trash collector.

Last revised: Friday September 16 2016