Likely, at least some proposals will have to do with returning recreational use to the hot springs, which for two decades was a popular destination for natural hot water enthusiasts. Fischer said he didn’t have a timeline for issuing the call for proposals.
Fischer closed the area last June due to concerns about users’ safety, pollution and other environmental degradation.
Ideas for sustainable management of Skinny Dipper range from volunteer-based control to leasing the property to a private organization.
Fischer said BLM’s crews removed the PVC pipes that controlled the flows of hot and cold water into Skinny Dipper’s pools. They also unplugged the pools, he said.
But the concrete that lines the pools is still in place, as is the trail up to the hot springs. But between now and 2021, barring some unforeseen change, people who hike up to Skinny Dipper Hot Springs will be considered trespassers and at risk of a ticket, Fischer said.
Since the closure, Fischer said, the BLM has been working to clarify management authority for the springs. “Way back when,” he said, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation established claims there.
The Bureau of Reclamation has since released its claim and allowed the BLM to manage the site. Fischer said his office is working on a letter to the regulatory commission asking if that body will release its claim or at least allow the BLM to lease it.