BLM to temporarily close popular Skinny Dipper Hot Springs near Boise

Posted at 9:39 AM, Jun 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 19:41:27-04

Due to public health and safety issues and resource damage, the Bureau of Land Management says it has put a five-year closure in place on public lands that include the Skinny Dipper Hot Springs.

According to a news release, BLM officials conducted an environmental analysis of the site in April of last year, and concluded the unauthorized pools are a health and safety hazard and are damaging natural resources. Based on that analysis, the BLM plans to remove the unauthorized piping and other material that were used to create the pools and remove the unauthorized trail that leads to the site.

“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.”

Fischer noted two previous attempts to address unsafe and illegal behavior at the site by limiting use to daylight hours only. Limits on hours of usage did not result in a substantial decline in incidents, and did not address the significant health and safety concerns and resource impacts resulting from the unauthorized pools and piping and ongoing use of the area, the BLM release said.

Fischer says the BLM remains open to proposals from the public to keep the site open through a special use permit or other mechanism. Any proposal would need to address the current public health and safety issues at the site.

Other authorized recreational hot springs are available in the area. Interested parties are urged to contact the BLM Four Rivers Field Office for information about legally developed hot springs.

An announcement about the closure was published in the Federal Register Tuesday.