When times get tough, pee in the woods.
That’s not exactly how the old adage goes, but it’s another new coronavirus-era reality the public is facing.
The Bridger-Teton and Shoshone national forests announced Friday that they are indefinitely closing most of their public toilets due to worries about spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
The forests, which administer nearly 6 million acres of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, made the decision as a precaution to protect public health. Some guard stations and rental cabins will also be closed in the coming week.
“These actions have been taken based on the best available medical advice for cleaning per [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines and to promote social distancing,” Bridger-Teton officials said in a statement.
Some public toilets in the valley are being spared for now. The vault toilets at Emily’s Pond on the east shore of the Snake River were open and being used Saturday. In town, the Home Ranch welcome center bathrooms were still open.
The Bridger-Teton’s notice did not specify what toilets are being closed other than saying the “majority” were being locked until further notice. Typically, forest toilets are located at campgrounds or near trailheads or boat launches.
East of the Continental Divide on the Shoshone National Forest, “all” toilet facilities are being closed indefinitely.
“As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number one priority,” Shoshone officials said in a statement.
As of Friday, the following Bridger-Teton rental cabins will no longer be available. On the Greys River Ranger District: the Cazier, Deer Creek, McCain and Meadows guard stations; on the Kemmerer Ranger District: the Kelley, La Barge and Scaler guard stations; on the Big Piney Ranger District: the Hoback and Snyder guard stations; and on the Pinedale Ranger District: Green River Lake Lodge.
Access to northwest Wyoming’s national forests and parks is unaffected by the pandemic — at least for now.
Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Denise Germann said the several portable toilets available to the public this time of year in the park remain open.