From the outside it looks pretty much like any other composting toilet in the National Park System. But the new $70,000 'loo' at Mount Rainier National Park has been deemed worthy of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Donated to the park by Groundwork Mishima, a nonprofit Japanese environmental organization, the "bio toilet" actually was installed in the Cougar Rock Campground last fall. However, it wasn't put into use due to the lateness of the season.
The toilet, promoted as having no odor and requiring little water thanks to the use of cedar chips and "natural composting techniques," will be honored with a ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m. Monday. (No word on whether it will be christened at that time.)
Groundwork Mishima's donation of the toilet stems from its work at Mount Fuji, which has a “Sister Mountain” relationship with Mount Rainier.
"We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with the people of Japan,” Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said in announcing the upcoming ceremony. “This bio toilet will be a practical contribution toward our goals of environmental stewardship and sustainable design in Mount Rainier National Park.”
Cougar Rock Campground is scheduled to open to the public at noon on June 13, 2008. Heavy snowfall last winter and a late melt-out this spring have delayed its official opening. Snow remains on the ground in the campground.