LOWMAN, Idaho — Kirkham Hot Springs is one of the most popular hot springs in Idaho, but in recent years the impacts from humans have prompted changes by the Boise National Forest.
It's a magical place to soak, but to ensure that continues people need to respect the hot springs by packing out what they bring in, don't bring in glass bottles and also stay on the designated trails.
"It’s such a beautiful area, but we need people to recreate responsibly," said Traci Weaver the Lowman District Ranger for the Boise National Forest. "If you google hot springs in Idaho Kirkham is the first or second one that comes up."
The area used to be a campground, then a few years ago the forest service switched it to a day-use area and last summer this natural wonder got trashed, literally.
This prompted the forest service to close the gate creating a longer walk to the hot springs, in August they attempted to open the area back up but similar problems forced them to close it again.
"The minute you open the gate people start spending the night," said Weaver. "We had folks with motorcycles up on the trail system back behind Kirkham Hot Springs and tons of people overrunning it again so we had to close the gate again."
The forest service thought about closing the hot springs completely for the winter, but this area is also the top tourist attraction that brings dollars to businesses in the small mountain community of Lowman.
"The community has been wonderful we had a meeting with them last fall and talked about options," said Weaver. "Several volunteered to walk through and help clean up and help people abide by the rules."
Moving forward the forest service is working on a redesign for Kirkham Hot Springs using funds from the Great American Outdoors Act, they are still hashing out ideas but did say they expect to complete the process sometime this year.
"We will be speaking public comment on that," said Weaver. "I’m not exactly sure when it will be open for public comment, but it will be.”