Mucus to Hikers’ Ears: ‘Elephant Snot’ Helps With Bucks County Trail Maintenance

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Volunteers from the Haycock Bouldering Coalition clean graffiti from rocks at Nockamixon State Park
Image via Haycock Bouldering Coalition.
Volunteers from the Haycock Bouldering Coalition use Elephant Snot to clean graffiti from rocks at Nockamixon State Park.

With pandemic recommendations to avoid closed-quarters settings, the past 18 months led to a regionwide increase in outdoor activities. Most of that enjoyment was benign. But some people took it as an opportunity to leave their mark, reported WFMZ 69 News. 

Incidents of graffiti rose during the pandemic on trails throughout Pennsylvania. “Artwork” has defaced rock formations on The Appalachian Trail and more locally at Nockamixon State Park. 

Fortunately, these boulders have boosters. 

The Haycock Bouldering Coalition (HBC), a climbing organization, works to counter what graffitists leave behind.  

They use a compound known as Elephant Snot to remove spray paint and restore stone surfaces to their natural state. Sounds gross; works well.

It is a biodegradable, nonflammable, dripless gel that sticks to vertical surfaces. Its component, Potassium Hydroxide, liquifies dried paint, making it easy to wash away. 

The sight of graffitied boulders saddens hiker Paula Uhrin. 

“I don’t know why someone would come out here with paint to do this,” she noted, referring to spray-painted images and words on boulders bordering the Appalachian Trail. 

“It’s nature, and this isn’t how nature is supposed to look. We want to return it to the way it should look.” 

More on these hiker helpers is at WFMZ 69 News

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