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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Meager Creek Hot Springs Update

From Mike Sato,

On Oct 10, 2007, I visited Meager Creek Hot Springs with a Recreation Officer from BC Ministry of Forest. We were doing an assessment of Meager Creek’s current conditions in order to determine what improvements would be necessary before opening Meager Creek Hot Springs to the public.

In fall of 2003, the Meager Creek Bridge was washed out due to heavy flooding. Since the site had been closed for over 4 years, I was expecting a much worse condition for the hot springs. However, it was not bad as I had thought it would be. Some portions of the trees on the trails are overgrown, and several fallen trees need to be cleaned up. As well, a new trail head may be necessary. Change room, signs, and toilets need to be cleaned and needs minor repairs and new paint. The only major problem I could find was with the Creek Side Warm Pool.

Meager Creek has shifted some 30~ 40 feet south due to the 2003 flood, and in the past 4 years, Meager Creek has moved to within 8 feet of this pool. If this continues, the Creek Side Warm Pool will most likely be eroded within a few years. To prevent the erosion of this pool, a backhoe or excavator will be required to create a stone retaining wall. However, before this can be done, a geotech engineer’s assessment will be necessary. Depending on the geotech engineer’s report, this pool may have to be abandoned or be rebuilt at a safer location.

Meager Creek Hot Springs is closed until maintenance and pool repairs are completed. It is anticipated that this will be completed in spring of 2008, and that Meager Creek Hot Springs may be open to the public by summer of 2008. Formerly, Meager Creek Hot Springs was a BC Ministry of Forest Recreation Site. However, it is now in the jurisdiction of BC Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Arts due to restructuring, along with all other Forestry Recreation sites. Therefore, the actual opening date will be dependent upon the funding available from the BC Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Arts.

The Meager Creek Bridge still remains under the jurisdiction of the BC Ministry of Forest and an announcement will be made by the BC Ministry of Forest regarding its reopening. It is likely that the Meager Creek Bridge will also open in the spring or summer of 2008. However, it is doubtful that the bridge will be reopened until all pool repairs and improvements are completed at Meager Creek Hot Springs.

When Meager Creek opens to the public, there will be a user fee. The fee is expected to be $5.00 per person per day. Children 12 and under are free. Meager Creek Hot Springs is bathing suit optional. Dogs are not permitted on the Trail or in and around the pools. During the spring and fall, the pools are open from 8am to 6pm. During the summer, the pools are open from 8am to 8pm.

Camping is not allowed at Meager Creek Hot Springs Recreation Site. Camping is restricted to the junction of Meager Creek and the Lillooet River 8km away. This area is called the Upper Lillooet Campground, and it has over 30 camp sites. The camping fee is $10.00 per night for each vehicle. Upper Lillooet Campground is open daily from May 1~Oct 15. Both the Upper Lillooet Campground and Meager Creek Hot Springs Recreation Site will be maintained by Mt. Currie Indian Band in 2008.

The gates to Meager Creek Hot Springs are located at 9 km on the Lillooet River FSR, just west of the Hurley River turn off. The gates are closed and locked from December to April. The distance from the gates to Meager Creek Hot Spring is about 36km.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Scenic Hot Springs Update

From the property owner:

Scenic is still not open to the general public. The only people allowed to use the springs are those who have a permission card or have been given permission for a visit in advance. Permission cards are only issued to those who have two or more involvements in past clean-up parties. Any visitors who do not have permission or a permission card are trespassing. If you are caught hiking up to the springs by Scenic’s representatives, you may be asked to leave . . . even if you are almost all the way up to the hot springs. Please do not argue with us. We do not allow late night soaking or camping because the Scenic property is in King County fire-restricted zone. Late night soaking is not allowed as we cannot control the irresponsible activities that traditionally take place after the sun goes down. Occasionally the Scenic’s reps will make the hike up to the springs late at night and ask those there to leave. Please do so without argument.

Those who want to request permission to visit the hot springs should contact bangedupshins@gmail.com If you would like to take part in future clean-up parties, please also contact us at the above email address.

The reason for the above restrictions (including the permission card requirement) is because we are in the middle of sensitive negotiations with the county, state and federal representatives over permits to reopen the hot springs to the public. The permit process is taking a lot of expense and time for everyone involved. The unexpected presence of people heading up to the hot springs while sheriff and King County code enforcement officers watch, may jeopardize our permits application.

I am hoping that the negotiations with the King County DDES and Public Health will be over soon and the Scenic Hot Springs will be open to the public sometime in spring of 2009. The first obstacle is to clear up the county code violations and restore the hot spring pools for public use while making them much more safe and enjoyable. Currently there is only one 8 x16 feet concrete pool at the Scenic Hot Springs. The King County DDES requires that any construction done by volunteers over the past 20 years, whether it was a small piece of concrete or small wooden poles, be removed from the hot spring site. Therefore when the time comes, the existing concrete pool at the Scenic Hot Springs will also have to be destroyed.

The Scenic Hot Springs is still in the process of negotiating with the County, so I cannot reveal any further details. If you have been to Cougar Hot Springs, then you can see the general direction the Scenic is heading for; a natural hot spring that is kept under control without making it a truly commercial facility. In the future, Scenic will have 3 natural rock-lined pools. When opening to the public, Scenic will be a day-use facility open from sunrise to sundown, and may have a minimum user fee. I would also like to mention that this improvement project has no official connection with the Friends of Scenic or the Scenic Preservation Association. However, some of their members have been involved as volunteers in the clean up efforts of Scenic Hot Springs.

Currently, visitors should at least follow guidelines listed below:

    • Have Permission First
    • No Night-time Soaking
    • No Guns, No Camping, No Fires
    • Be Responsible with Alcohol - No Glass
    • No Dogs at the Springs Site
    • Be prepared to leave when asked to do so

Mike Sato