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Fans of Skinny Dipper hot springs hope location remains open

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Fans of Skinny Dipper Hot Springs near Banks are banding together to strike a deal with the federal government that will allow the popular hot springs to remain open.

The Idaho Statesman reports ( ) that on May 28 the Bureau of Land Management announced it would close Skinny Dipper, citing too many issues with people littering, using drugs and committing other crimes.

But avid users of the hot springs say it is a small minority of users that are responsible for the problems. Boise resident Kyme Graziano has been spearheading the effort to keep Skinny Dipper open.

"This is a location that is worth saving, and we are working hard to do it in a positive, productive manner," she said.

Graziano will meet with southern Idaho's Bureau of Land Management manager, Tate Fischer, this week to reach an agreement.

"The public outcry has been very well-received," Fischer said. "I think it's a step in the right direction, and we're going to do everything we can to try to remedy the problem."

But one of the main sticking points will be an elaborate system of pipes and cement used to control the temperature of the pools.

Graziano said she wants to leave the pipes in place and hide them, but Fischer says they aren't authorized to be there, and should be replaced with natural materials.

The Bureau of Land Management also pointed to fire danger and erosion along the access trail. This means a deal may also include a group of volunteers to maintain trails and pick up trash. The agency would fine litterers and urge visitors to stay on the trails.

Ken Palmer, who built Skinny Dipper roughly 20 years ago, said he's often picking up litter from the hot springs.

"It's a labor of love," he said. "A lot of people have come up and said to me, 'That's got to really make you angry.' And I said, 'Yeah, it probably would except for I enjoy the springs enough that I'm just going to take care of it. I don't care how bad it is.'"


Information from: Idaho Statesman,

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