Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials have decided to reaffirm their previous decision to close a popular hot spring near Boise. The decision to close the hot spring for five years comes after failed attempts over the last year from citizen groups to keep Skinny Dipper Hot Spring open.
The site, which is located on a mountain facing the South Fork of the Payette River near Banks, was illegally built on BLM land in the 1990s. The federal agency first announced plans to dismantle it last May, but a group filed an appeal. Growing Change raised money and submitted a proposal for managing Skinny Dipper last summer, but it was rejected. Officials said at the time that the proposal failed to address environmental and health concerns.
In a press release, BLM Field Manager Tate Fischer says proposals to limit the area to daylight hours only did not address these concerns adequately, resulting in today's decision.
“We recognize that the hot springs are a popular recreational opportunity, and regret having to close the area,” said BLM Four Rivers Field Manager Tate Fischer. “Unfortunately, we have received repeated complaints from local law enforcement, area landowners and public health officials related to unsafe and illegal activity at the site. We are obligated to address these issues before considering future use of the hot springs.” -- BLM press release
The agency plans to remove the piping and trail leading to Skinny Dipper. Fischer says he's still willing to receive proposals for a special use permit that addresses the health and safety concerns.
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