Updated: Wednesday, 29 Jul 2009, 11:50 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 29 Jul 2009, 11:50 PM MDT
SANDIA PARK, N.M. (KRQE) - New Mexico's oldest and most-used national forest restrooms will soon get a potty break thanks to $2.8 million in the federal pipeline.
The money from the federal economic-stimulus package is set to be spent on repairing and replacing aging toilets in three of the state's national forests including the Cibola National Forest where Jim Hughes is a park host.
"Because we got some places that need it real bad," Jim Hughes, a park host in the Cibola, told KRQE News 13. When Mother Nature calls he's seen people do desperate things in desperate times, he added.
"People will literally break in to use the toilets," Hughes said. "Then they'll use whatever they have instead of paper, and some things don't flush well."
Then there's just pure vandalism that Mary Dereske of the U.S. Forest Service said she's seen.
"They'll break the toilets; they'll break the sinks," she said.
But some critics think spending millions of making potties pretty is a waste even calling it "potty pork."
"That's a good name for it, I guess, if they want to use names like that," Dereske said. However most bidders for projects are companies in New Mexico so repairing toilets will stimulate the economy, she said.
The Forest Service plans to say good-bye to flush toilets and replace them with vault toilets, which Dereske said will save both money and time since "water systems tend to be problematic."
In the Cibola National Forest, between six and eight facilities will get repaired or replaced. Some of the buildings are as old as 20 years.
As for Hughes, he'll have to wait. Building won't likely begin until next summer.