New public restroom facility installed at tourist hot spot aims at E. coli mitigation
Midgley Bridge visitors can finally step out of the bushes, and onto the newest throne in Oak Creek. As of the first week of May, creek side visitors will be able to enjoy the newest toilet the corridor has seen since the installation of the USFS toilets next to Indian Gardens Marketplace in 2007. US Forest Service (USFS), commissioned by the Oak Creek Watershed Council (OCWC) through a grant from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), installed the government-furnished single vault toilet just beyond the parking lot area. A decomposed granite accessible pathway leads to the new toilet, just before the existing Ramada overlooking Wilson Canyon.
Post the Cinco de Mayo events of 2012, USFS, AZGF and the OCWC removed over 450 pounds of trash from the Midgley Bridge Overlook and creek side recreational area from one weekend of partiers. That included an ample supply of used toilet paper and heaps of human feces. This alarming amount of trash and feces from a single weekend of party goers sprung environmentally sensitive agencies and organizations into action. The area below the Midgley Bridge Overlook sits tens of feet above the aquifer which supplies drinking water for the greater Sedona area. With record numbers of visitors, and high levels of E. coli exceedances in Oak Creek, toilets like these are vital to the health and sustainable future of Oak Creek.
The toilet made its debut only one month after the USFS ban on glass within 200 feet of Oak Creek, except in designated campgrounds and picnic areas. Visitors should note the seriousness of the glass ban – violators will face fines up to $5,000. along with up to six months in jail.
Keep in mind that when recreating beneath Midgley Bridge, there are no garbage cans. Recreators are expected to pack out everything they packed in. There is no housekeeping service in the Forest. With the new toilet, glass ban and more awareness, OCWC and the USFS hope to see market reduction in left over litter and fecal matter.
PDF of the News Release HERE