National

Toilets won’t work on one Outer Banks island. It’s ‘backcountry style’ for tourists.

The view from the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse shows the Shackleford Banks in the distance. No restrooms there for the time being.
The view from the top of Cape Lookout Lighthouse shows the Shackleford Banks in the distance. No restrooms there for the time being. townsend@newsobserver.com

Visitors to the Shackleford Banks off North Carolina are being warned by the National Park Service that they’ll be using the restroom “backcountry style” for the immediate future.

In other words, no toilets.

The Shackleford Banks is a key part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, a national park that averages about 33,300 visitors a month.

“The restrooms on the island are closed due to storm damage and have not been reopened following the hurricanes,” said a Facebook post by Cape Lookout National Seashore.

“If coming by ferry, take advantage of the facilities in the Beaufort Visitor Information Center before boarding.”

North Carolina’s barrier islands were pounded by Hurricane Florence, and then again by Hurricane Michael, causing flooding, washed out roads and damage to historic buildings.

Cape Lookout National Seashore was closed for part of September after Hurricane Florence filled a harbor with debris and sand, blocking ferry service.

The Shackleford Banks is a popular fishing and camping site, and home to one of the largest herds of wild horses on the east coast, nearly 120. Driving is not permitted on the island, which is also without trash cans.

So what do you do if nature calls?

Think like a cat, says the National Park Service, noting Leave No Trace Guidelines are now in place on the Shackleford Banks.

“Deposit solid human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails,” say National Park Service human waste guidelines. “Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished.”

The guidelines also suggested tourists bring their own toilet paper.

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Florence caused flooding and damaged fencing, and swept debris and beach sand inland, in Avon, an Outer Banks community in North Carolina, on Sept. 14, 2018.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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