Although the COVID outbreak has delayed last year’s intended installation date. The STA is happy to announce that the first Urine Diverting Vermicomposting Toilet (UDVT) purchased with the funds raised through donations, raffle tickets, and the Give a Sh*! event has finally been successfully installed by volunteers on Barker Island along a popular canoe route in northwest Saskatchewan.
Pristine lakes, such as Barker Lake, are connected by countless falls, rapids, and ledges as the Churchill River courses through the rugged landscape on its 1,600-km journey to Hudson Bay. Throw in huge areas of spectacular boreal wilderness with a rich and storied history, and it’s easy to see how the Churchill River system enthralls thousands of canoeists, kayakers, and anglers who return year after year. It is also home to multiple Indigenous communities whose people continue to use the land and waterways.
Since much of the river system is in the Canadian shield, with all this activity, one of the biggest challenges in backcountry sites is dealing with human waste. In 2019, the STA partnered with the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport, Churchill River Outfitters, and the local community to launch the Churchill River Water Trail Legacy Project. This project aims to remedy the lack of pleasant toilet facilities which lead to human waste and remnants of toilet paper being scattered throughout the landscape causing long-term environmental consequences and negative visitor experiences.
After extensive research into this challenge, a realistic and cost-effective solution was found in using a UDVT, manufactured by Toilet Tech Solutions (TTS). The technology separates the waste streams to allow for successful composting and has been proven to work through peer-reviewed academic research and in the field experiences. The system is innovative, leading-edge, and reliable.
We believe that the Churchill River Water Legacy Project is an initiative that will facilitate stewardship and lead to a cleaner environment along with providing an enhanced visitor experience. This project is a wonderful opportunity to promote trail development in the north and showcase how important trails are in every community to both the natural environment, its inhabitants, and travelers.
Although human waste is rarely spoken of, the problem of dealing with it is a serious issue in the backcountry and in remote sites. Compounded by increased visitation, the problem can have lasting negative impacts on the environment and create very poor visiting experiences. The installation of the first UDV toilet at Barkers Island will help improve the outdoor recreation experience along canoe routes in northern Saskatchewan.
Finally, the STA would like to thank all of our wonderful partners, volunteers, and donors involved in the project who made it so successful.
A volunteer standing beside the newly installed UDV toilet on Barker Island.
Many thanks to the volunteers who were involved in installing the UDV toilet on Barker Island.