Boise group prepares appeal to keep Skinny Dipper open

A group of people trying to keep Skinny Dipper Hot Springs open is preparing a written plan for ways to reduce human impact, rehabilitate and provide future stewardship for the recreational site, said Kyme Graziano, who’s leading the effort.

One possible part of that plan would be to establish a group of volunteers that make sure people are being responsible when they visit. Another possibility is to post a paid attendant, maybe a veteran who lives in a local community, to carry out similar duties.

These monitors would carry equipment that allows them to contact local law enforcement if problems arise, Graziano said.

“I have no doubt that we will come out on the other end of this saving the hot springs as a recreational opportunity,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which owns the property where Skinny Dipper is located, has been helpful, Graziano said, even though it was the agency that threatened to close Skinny Dipper. Tate Fischer, manager of the BLM’s Four Rivers field office, met with the group last week and walked them through the process they’ll have to follow to keep Skinny Dipper open.

“It was very promising. It was very positive,” Fischer said of the meeting. “And I think that the people involved understood what they need to do in order to work toward a resolution.”

Graziano’s group must apply for a stay by May 28. If granted, the stay would block the BLM from removing the cement that keeps Skinny Dipper’s pools in place, tearing out a series of PVC pipes that channel hot and cold water into the pools and otherwise reclaiming the site.

At the same time, Graziano said, the group will file an appeal to overturn the decision to close the hot springs. Fischer said both the stay and appeal applications will go before the U.S. Department of the Interior Board of Land Appeals, a panel of four that makes decisions on cases like this.