4×4 convoy transports Sand Mountain’s first restroom

A convoy of volunteers in four-wheel drive vehicles – and two M939 military trucks – ferried an unassembled composting toilet to the top of Sand Mountain Sunday. The toilet is the first to be installed in the popular off-road area near Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, June 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Utah Public Lands Alliance, St. George News

HURRICANE – A small army of volunteers used 4×4 vehicles, trailers and military trucks to transport parts of a new composting toilet up the sand dunes to the top of Sand Mountain Sunday.

A convoy of volunteers in four-wheel drive vehicles – and two M939 military trucks – ferried an unassembled composting toilet to the top of Sand Mountain Sunday. The toilet is the first to be installed in the popular off-road area near Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, June 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Utah Public Lands Alliance, St. George News

The 11,000 pounds of components for the new restroom were ferried up the mountain by 31 volunteers in 22 vehicles, including two M939 5-ton military trucks.

“This will be the first – but not the last – facility of this type on Sand Mountain,” Utah Public Lands Alliance trustee and project head Kim Pollock said.

The Alliance, also known as UPLA, is a St. George-based land use group dedicated to preserving public lands. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit group has been fighting a proposed land swap that would affect trail use in the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area.

Read more: Proposed Sand Mountain transfer won’t resolve land dispute

“We felt that this project was a very important addition to the OHV area,” Pollock said. “Sand Hollow is approximately 20,000 acres and receives over 100,000 visitors annually and yet there is not a single toilet available. With this and future additions, the visitors will enjoy clean, sanitary and convenient facilities.”

UPLA financed the $58,000 purchase and installation of the toilet with a grant from the Bureau of Land Management recreation fund, which is funded through participant fees for local events such as the Winter 4×4 Jamboree, Trail Hero and others.

A convoy of volunteers in four-wheel drive vehicles – and two M939 military trucks – ferried an unassembled composting toilet to the top of Sand Mountain Sunday. The toilet is the first to be installed in the popular off-road area near Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, June 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Utah Public Lands Alliance, St. George News

The new composting toilet will be assembled and installed near Competition Hill to serve the off-road, dirt bike and the all-terrain vehicle communities that use the Sand Mountain Off-highway Vehicle Area near Sand Hollow State Park.

“Getting the sub-assemblies for this restroom up to a location at the top of the Hurricane Sand Dunes was a daunting project,” Utah Public Lands Alliance President Gil Meacham said. “We were thrilled that local clubs and organizations responded to our call for volunteers.”

The area is officially the Sand Mountain Special Recreation Management Area, but is also known as the Hurricane Sand Dunes or simply “Sand Hollow.”

The composting toilet was prefabricated by Advanced Composting Systems in the company’s Montana plant and then shipped to St. George on a 30-foot trailer. Construction will begin June 12 and is expected to be completed by approximately June 22.

Advanced Composting Systems has built many similar restrooms in remote locations including Toroweep Point and several other trails on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Meacham said.

A convoy of volunteers in four-wheel drive vehicles – and two M939 military trucks – ferried an unassembled composting toilet to the top of Sand Mountain Sunday. The toilet is the first to be installed in the popular off-road area near Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah, June 11, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Utah Public Lands Alliance, St. George News

The two-story composting toilet building comes with solar panels, a cistern to collect rainwater, electric fans, motion lights and a porch.

The toilet is designed to use biologic activity to completely break down all human waste into a completely non-toxic residue that can be used as fertilizer when emptied. There will be no odor, and the toilet will not need to be emptied for one to two years.

UPLA has been working with BLM to identify suitable locations in the Sand Mountain area for up to five more toilets.  

“We hope that the local recreation enthusiasts will continue to appreciate having these restrooms available in the remote areas on Sand Mountain,” Meacham said.

Composting toilets are ideal for remote locations; with proper usage, they require much less maintenance and are far more ecologically sound than pit toilets.

Eight different companies and groups responded to the call for help, Meacham said, including UPLA, Desert Roads And Trails Society, Winter 4×4 Jamboree, Armstrong Radiator, Southwest Adventure Group, Just For Fun Motorsports and Eminence Offroad.

A total of 154 volunteer hours were contributed during the project. Gary Jones provided the two M939 5-ton trucks from his private collection of military vehicles.

For more information about Utah Public Lands Alliance, see the website or Facebook page.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Ed. note: Corrected weight of toilet components.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com
Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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