A message from Chuck
Shepard, President of Hoodoo Family Recreation:
Starting in the spring of 2009, probably around April [now changed to May], the pools will be closed for a period of up to a month while the stonework is being redone. Hoodoo with input from the Forest Service and users of the pools has hired a master stone worker with an international reputation to rebuild the walls of the pools in an attempt to retain the natural look of the pools without the use of cement or other adhesives but at the same time making the pools and walls safe for use. Those who have been around for some time know that the hot springs at one time were little more than a stream flowing down the side of the hill. Over time users of all sorts including the Forest Service and Hoodoo have tried to make the springs more usable by building walls to form pools and maintaining these walls so that they did not fall in.
Hoodoo took over the management of the pools about four seasons ago while at the same time increasing the $3 fee that had been in place for about 10 years to a $5 fee. At first this was very controversial, but after the many rumors of change were put to rest, Hoodoo, has been given a lot of support by the constant user. For the most part the daily damage to vehicles and glass left in the pools stopped. At least 95% of the users paid their fee with gratitude knowing that this was paying for an important service. In the year of 2008, however, a couple people decided that they would make trouble, I suppose to discourage others from using the pools. They burned down the kiosk that had been brought in to help collect fees and keep the area safe and started tearing down the rock walls that created the pools. Regular users along with Hoodoo staff have attempted to rebuild the walls, but increasingly they are becoming unsafe. It has been decided that a long term solution is needed. Hoodoo has contracted with a internationally renowned master stone worker who we have been in contact with thanks to a member of the Friends of Cougar. This effort will not be cheap. Hoodoo will be paying somewhere around $20,000 to do this important rebuild. This money is coming from a fund that Hoodoo normally invests each year into both Terwilliger and the surrounding campgrounds. This year most of the money that is normally invested into the campgrounds will go to benefit the hot springs. There are no plans to increase the fee that is charged to the hot spring users, but there is a planned fee increase that is being charged throughout the campgrounds which does partially pay for improvements like this.
The stone work is very important to the future of the springs and will not only keep the area looking natural, but it will also make it safe. This project, originally proposed by some of the regular users and some of the Friends of Cougar, was brought to Hoodoo's attention several years ago. It has been held up though as some regular users were concerned that the natural look might be changed. The idea was put out that it would mean cement walls or manufactured pools. When that thought was adequately expelled, the vocal users became enthusiastic supporters to the point where they have been asking why nothing is happening. The recent destruction that has been happening at the pools has made it obvious that something needs to be done now. And so it will be. It is possible that Hoodoo will ask for voluntary financial support later. We did find out that we could possibly get a grant to help pay for this next year, but we know that it can't wait that long and so Hoodoo is going to put out the funds with blind faith and with support of the Forest Service that is allowing us to put money that is normally spent by us in the campgrounds, into the hot springs.