Friends of Cougar

Concrete Comments

Hoodoo is considering adding concrete to the pools

  

More recent comments

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Emails received 6/14/06 and 6/15/06 in reply to this:

Greg Thorne wrote:

> Hoodoo is considering putting concrete and drains in the pools. More
> details at http://www.friendsofcougar.com/news.htm

> You may email me today with your thoughts and I will print some of the
> msgs I receive to show Hoodoo how Friends of Cougar feel about this
> idea when I meet with Hoodoo and the FS on this issue tomorrow morning.
>
> Greg

> -----------------
> Greg Thorne
> Founder, Friends of Cougar
 

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Hi Greg,
Safety first, but I would prefer a more natural look.  Friends of Cougar has worked hard to maintain an environmentally sound hot springs area, however Hoodoo is trying to commercialize nature.  That's great to an extent but where do we honestly draw the line?????
-Christy

 

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As a user of the hot springs over the last 26 years, I do not really see the
need for such action.  I was happy to see on my last visit to the springs in
May this year (we live in Portland), that Hoodoo seemed to be doing a good
job of making improvements in the use of the springs (the entrance hut and
pleasant fee collector) without altering the "footprint" of the place.  I
really can't see the need to pour concrete into the pools and put drains
into them.  One of the charms of the place is its rustic nature.  I think a
fine balance has been maintained over the years with the maintenance and
incrimental improvements made to the "facility".  However, it seems to me
that pouring concrete would put a more significant imprint on the place than
is warranted, unless there are legitimate health and safety concerns that
can't be addressed in a less intrusive way.

My two cents.

Steven P., Esq., Portland

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Dear Greg,
I am a former officer of Friends of Bagby and long-time maintenance person at Bagby.  I also think concrete in the pools is a really bad idea.  Outside of the esthetic issues, the only way to make it a proper engineering job would be to completely excavate the creek bed and provide proper footings to hold the weight of concrete, rocks, and water on the slope and to keep the pool sides rigid enough to prevent cracking.  Hoodoo may think they could just pour some concrete into the existing shape and cover it with some natural rocks.  There is no chance that the result would not crack eventually and push high pressure streams of water out the bottom, undermining the concrete and causing even more cracks, requiring the whole thing be broken up and removed.

 
Regarding the algae, there is a school of thought that the algae acts as a substrate where coliform bacteria can adhere or be trapped, and should be removed not because of the algae itself but the bacteria stuck to it.  At Bagby there was folklore that the "Board of Health" wanted the volunteers to scrub the wooden tubs daily, for that reason, but I never saw anything in writing from them.  As a practical matter I never heard of any actual problem due to coliform, even though the large round tubs at Bagby were often not drained and refilled for several hours at a time.

 
A friend and I soaked at Cougar last month, and hope you can head off this bad idea without a lot of effort.

 
Norman

 

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Hi, Greg,
 
I'm a rather infrequent visitor, but I want you to know I'm appalled by news that Hoodoo would consider such an action. The Springs should stay "natural"!
 
Please include my commentary as appropriate when communicating with them and the Forest Service.
 
Thanks,
 
Ben

 

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I am apposed to putting concrete and drains in the pools.  I enjoy soaking in hot springs because they are a natural phenomenon, not because someone develops them.

     -Keith, Portland, OR

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I am truly astounded that an organization would go this far to destroy what Mother Earth has blessed the outdoor souls with.  I very very much would like Hoodoo to hear my thoughts on this!  If people want to soak in concrete go to sol duc Hot springs.  This is a huge mistake and it is sad that what seemed to have calmed down from the original 'takeover' of this magnificent spring into now a terrible terrible idea and so destructive.
 
Jenny, Portland Oregon

 

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This would absolutely RUIN the pools at Cougar.  Cougar is one of the few places I will go now because it DOES NOT have concrete pools.  Please leave things the way they are, the way they're suppose to be.
 
Julie

 

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Please, no concrete. It would change irrevocably the hot spring experience and feel. I'm OK with algae. If we all treat the pools with care and respect, it should be fine. Concrete would be a costly and hard-to-remedy mistake. As a lifelong hot spring user, I highly value the more rustic and wild aspect of places like Cougar. Let's focus our energies on education and community building and not be such prima donnas about a little algae, clay and mud. (OK, I'm a potter too, and clay and mud are not problems for me. Concrete is.)
  Good luck on your meeting tomorrow. I hope you're heard.
Best wishes, and thank you,
Morna

 

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Dear Hoodoo,
I am very disapointed and concerned by the plans to put concrete in the pools at Cougar Hot Springs.
I understand that some individuals are under the impression that this would make it easier to clean. However, it is not your property and you have no place making this decision without consulting the people who use it.
 
I love the rocks. It is the most beautiful Hot Spring I have been to.
We have one here in town that is concrete.  It is extremely uncomfortable and looks absolutely awful.
 
If cleaning is the real issue, I am confident that you would be able to recruit ample willing volunteers.
 
This is sad to say because I love Cougar dearly, but if you do decide to put in concrete, I will not be coming back.
 
Catalina

 

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curious what the drains are supposed to achieve what the current
configuration doesnt provide.

the current layout of the pools drains properly, offers excellent pool
depth, and a good experience.   merely altering them "because they feel
like it" doesnt make sense.

== stanton

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Greg
 
Please convey my dismay with this prospect.  I am not able to visit cougar very often, so when I am able to come I want to experiance the spiritual side of an all natural spring.  The thought of adding concrete to the spring just reinforces that Hoodoo does not now and never will understand the culture of freedom.  I have writen to you a couple of times over the last few years encouraging you in you effort. Keep up the good work and beat back the rubber alagator right-wing from ruining our spring.
 
Wade

 

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Concrete! No Way!please do not ruin the stone that is there! 

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Dear Greg,

I don't know you personally, and I am not an active member of the Friends
of Cougar - though I do subscribe to your mailing list.

My wife (who was born and raised in Tokyo) and I love to visit Cougar hot
springs from our home in Bend, Oregon. We both feel that Hoodoo has done a
respectable job in managing the springs since they took over, though we
were concerned originally. We cannot understand, with the lack of funding
available to the USFS, how they could possibly consider spending money on
a project that will surely reduce pleasurable experience of the hot
springs. I'm sure you and I could come up with at least a dozen
improvements that could be made to the hot spring area that would not
destroy the natural environment of the springs themselves - as would
putting concrete and drains into the wonderful natural springs. If this
project is approved, and it is the result of Hoodoo now managing the
springs, I can assure you that many silent partners of the springs would
be forced to become very vocal opponents of the Hoodoo management scheme.
Greg, I honestly hope that you are incorrect in your information. This
plan is just too hair brained to be real.

Thank you for the information,

Joe and Yukiko, Bend, Oregon
 

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Hi to all who are intrested...
I visit cougar to enjoy the natural beauty of the woods and nature around the springs, I go to excape the concrete jungles of town and city life. I do not want to visit a concrete pool in the woods, nor do I believe they belong in nature. the pools are as close to what nature intended them to be and should remain as such.
 I have been enjoying cougar hot springs since the mid 60's as a child with my parents and continue to visit them and have even helped remove the old log steps and replace them with the stone that is there now. I personally do not want to see the concrete "jungle" invading the natural beauty of cougar hot spring.
 
Earl

 

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My husband and I were regular Cougar visitors back in the day--before it became a commercial venture (requiring you to pay for passes) and when you could still soak all night if you wanted. We've been out of state for the past 10 years, so haven't been to Cougar since all the changes, but someday we hope to get back and take our kids to 'the springs' so they can experience nature as God intended. Concreting the pools--and heaven forbid, sterilizing them with bleach--would be a final stake in the heart of this sacred place. People concerned only with convenience and profit are destroying the planet. Can they be stopped anywhere? If not here, then the world truly is lost.
 
Tracy
Illinois

 

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Greg,
 
I'm going to email Chuck direct and let him know how unhappy I am.
 
Phil

 

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My first reaction is to use kinda harsh words that convey my sense of disbelief that anyone could fail to understand how irrevocably concrete in the pools would change the flavor of the best natural hot spring in Oregon.  But after stepping back and cooling off for a second, I can at least entertain the idea that someone who just doesn't happen to think like me might think concrete linings a good idea simply for the labor savings involved.  But that person is ignoring the other factor involved- the effect on those who enjoy Cougar exactly because it represents a natural, non-intrusive, locally made gem in a system of Forest Service facilities dominated by places designed to accomodate the lowest common denominator of we the people.  Those latter places have their value in getting folks out and enjoying the outdoors who mightn't otherwise.  But as a result of their proliferation, there aren't that many accessible places worth leaving alone anymore; I can't think of a better location in Oregon than Cougar that deserves to stay exactly as it is.  To add something as unnatural and environmentally unfriendly as concrete to this place would be a slap in the face to me and everyone I've ever visited the place with. 
 
And I just can't stop myself here.  People who are disinclined to bathe in such a magnificent place because they don't like cloudy water????  That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.  There are bathtubs for those people.  I truly hope this is more about the miniscule labor savings than the algae....
 
Randy
Corvallis, OR

 

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This is totally shocking.  The thing that makes Cougar Hot Springs so
special is that it is as close to natural in its environment and in
the pools construction.  To even think about putting concrete in is
an abomination.  This is the big thing.   Saying that it will be
easier to clean is just foolish - the algae will cling to concrete
even more tenaciously than the smooth natural rocks.  There even
might be an attempt to add chlorine - which is not only
environmentally unfriendly but it would add a totally unpleasant
atmosphere to the whole area.

It was bad enough when the FS "improved" things by putting gravel all
around.  Gravel is much tougher on the feet and I did not appreciate it.

Register my vote LOUD AND CLEAR -  AGAINST Concrete and most
assuredly against any drain system.

Howard
President - SLUGS Naturist Travel Club.
 

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Dear Greg,


 
Please pass along my thoughts to Chuck Shepard at your meeting tomorrow.  

 
I am shocked at the very suggestion of concrete in the pools!  
Please don't do it!  Keep the pools natural.  The most charming thing about Cougar Hot Springs is that they are natural.  Please don't eliminate this fundamental part of the experience of being there.

 
I have been going to Cougar since the 1980s.  There have certainly been times that the pools are in better shape than others, and with the increased use it is clearly important that the pools remain clean.  If cleaning is the problem, then please look for as many alternative ways as possible to achieve this goal.  Please don't just jump to the first, most obvious solution without serious creative problem solving.

 
Thank You,
  - Pam
    Eugene, Oregon

 

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There it goes, so much for natural hot springs. If the
concrete and drains go in I will probably never again
soak in one favorite hot springs. It is to bad that
commercial ideas have to enter into a peaceful area.
Damn communist anyway. Next they will be having a
stand where your can buy bottled spring water for your
soak. geezs  Not to mention lights and regular toilets.
 

Michael T.

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Hi Greg,
   I think that the idea of putting concrete in the pools is really wrong.
The pools are very nice the way they are now. I never though, that pools
at Cougar hot springs are not clean. Most dirt is coming I believe from
occasional beer drinking vandals, who put broken bottles and cigarettes
in the pools. Concrete will not solve this problem.

Making drains in the pools would be the first step of converting
the pools into standard commercial jacuzzi, which I believe
we want to avoid.

All the best,
    Vladimir

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my response:
 
                          CALL FOR CIVIL ACTION!
                          CEMENT THAT!

 

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Greg,

That is one of the more ridiculous ideas I have heard in a long time.
Things are working well at the pool, and putting in concrete and
drains is not a good idea.

A side from the cost, it would ruin the atmosphere.

-Ames

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Good afternoon,
Just a quick comment about the possibility of putting concrete and drains in the pools at Cougar:
I live in the Portland Metro area. If I'm traveling that far to soak in hot water...it certainly isn't to soak in a place that appears to be commercially run. I can find that a lot closer to home.
Thank you,
Kendall

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No way!

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To Whom This May Concern:
 
Thank you for taking time to read this email.
 
We moved west of Drain from Kansas twenty-one years ago, raised our children, and developed friendships. One of our very favorite experiences has been to frequent the Cougar Hot Springs for health and rejuvenation. Perhaps it has been so special because we are enveloped, embraced and nurtured in natural elements, far away from the city elements of concrete, honking cars and sirens, buildings and masses of people. Because of these natural surroundings, we have felt that our visits are nothing short of medicine for our minds, bodies and spirits. It is simply Mother Nature at her finest and most endearing.
 
We have been grateful all these years to be privileged to live close enough to these sacred grounds/waterfalls to be able to visit several times a year. There is something to be said about having a place that is not altered by manmade materials. Our culture/society has some missing ingredients for its health and well-being. And Cougar Hot Springs can provide some of those missing ingredients. Messing with Mother Nature in this instance would not prevail in the accomplishment of creating a greater healing space, but rather the opposite.
 
Please consider these comments from people who work actively to help others to live healthier lives. Cougar Hot Springs is our refuge..........a place that can help heal those who heal others.
 
Thank you so very much for the time, energy, and especially, the caring feelings you have invested in reading this.
 
Have a wonderful day!
 
Janai L., M.S.
Mother, Wife, Counselor, Author

 

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I canít believe that it would even be a consideration to put concrete and drains in the pools at Cougar. The more natural pools are what make the place so amazing and beautiful. I certainly would not have any interest in continuing to go there to sit in concrete tubs; it goes totally against the entire idea of enjoying  hot springs in the forest in a natural setting.

 

Amy R., LMT

 

 

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As a long time user of Cougar hot spring ( some 45 years) I am shocked that one wouldn't do everything possible to keep it as natural as possible. I don't think anyone is complaining about paying a small fee to keep the site open and in good condition. This is one of our local treasures, a bit of Oregon yet unspoiled and I believe that most people using it would support that idea.

Please keep Cougar as natural as possible.

If your looking for ways to help, negotiate a deal with the Boy Scouts to Open Kitson Hot spring to the public again. Develop a camp that both Scouts and public could use and charge a fee appropriate to maintain it.

Thanks for listening to my 2-cents worth!

Dennis E.

 

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Greg

It seems to me that everything you feared is coming
true. Hoodoo is proposing to change Cougar from a
natural hot spring to something less then natural.

Their stated reason is economics. Not protecting the
environment. Not the safety of the soakers. It is for
their financial interests and to make the job of
cleaning the pools "easier". This isn't a health
issue, it's a wealth issue. And while I understand
that Hoodoo isn't getting rich on Cougar, if they
couldn't do the job with the people and the money that
were agreed to, they shouldn't have gotten into the
contract.

Cougar Hot Springs isn't about easy or saving money.
It's about nature and beauty and people enjoying both
of these qualities with as little "man made"
interference as possible.

-Evan

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Oh no! This would be awful, awful! Please convey my concerns:

Greg, your observations about the natural sanitariness of Cougar,
thanks to the gravity flow, is spot on, as well as the observation
about the algae.

Putting in concrete would alter both the aesthetic and historical
nature of the hot springs. They are old enough that they have been used
for perhaps hundreds of years. Apparently, local native tribes
considered the area around the hot springs in the Cascades to be
neutral territory where no warfare was allowed, a safe zone and
sanctuary for healing.

This would be a sad, sad day for all of us in the community that
cherish Terwilliger Hot Springs. My wife and I are professionals here
in Eugene in the higher academic and health fields, and coming up to
the springs is a valued retreat for its natural beauty as well as
therapeautic nature.

Please, please do not do this terrible thing, Mr. Shepard! It would
show that the FS and Hoodoo both do not fully appreciate and realize
the sentiment we have for this natural wonder. I appreciate the good
job that Hoodoo has been doing so far managing Cougar, though I would
prefer a return to the Friends of Cougar Hot Springs management as in
years past. Please be aware that your organization and the Forest
Service both are providing a service to we, the taxpaying citizens, in
whom our public lands you are entrusted only as the caretakers/stewards
of.

Sincerely,
-Don S., LMT
Eugene, Oregon
 

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To Whom It May Concern
 
I oppose cementing the pools and installing drains at Cougar hot springs.
 
It will not improve the quality of this precious resource and it will not make it any easier to clean the hot springs. Cement will hurt the stream quality for any spawning fish in the near area. Introduction of any chemicals to help clean the cement will add to the distress of fish downstream.
 
Adding cement and drains will destroy the natural beauty of Cougar hot springs. There are so few natural hot springs left.
 
The safety, cleanliness and quality of Cougar hot springs has greatly improved in recent years. I hope that you will continue to preserve the natural beauty of this rare resource.
 
Dr Tim L.
 
Drain, OR

 

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I think concrete pools with drains is a horrible idea.  I think that there is nostalgia associated with cougar hot springs.  I like the fact that my father went there when he was my age and it hasnt changed much. 

If i wanted to sit in a concrete hot tub i would go to a spa.  A hot springs is natural and should stay that way.

-Garrett J.
23 years old
Eugene Oregon
 

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Greg - Please inform Hoodoo and the FS (I am FS, but in CA) that concreting the pools would be an unnecessary and harmful intrusion into the natural primitive value of the hot springs that we enjoy, and would reduce the quality of the visitor experience while introducing an unpleasant and probably LESS sanitary artificial element to the primeval old-growth forest character of the springs.  I also feel that the FS should know that many longtime springs visitors such as myself find this abominable suggestion typical of the concessionaire mentality in disregarding the wishes of the users and those with years of experience in volunterr maintenance, attempting to replace a well-working user-developed system with a poorly conceived "Management" solution.  I suggest that Friends of Cougar be allowed to the collect the user fee, which should be reduced to $1 or eliminated for performing volunteer work, that the pool maintenance be returned to a volunteer system, and that the contract with Hoodoo be terminated.  Please pass these recommendations along.  Thanks, Fred L.

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Dear Friends of Cougar:
Thank you for the alert regarding potential plans to destroy the natural character of Cougar Hot Springs by the current management. I have visited Cougar many times since 1976 and find such a plan to concrete the pools w/drains appalling! While I have many reservations to Forest Service leasing of public property to for profit organizations I accepted that such a management arrangement may be inevitable due to the growing use and associated problems that increased visits bring. However, to completely change the natural character with concrete and drains to make Hoodoo's stewardship more convenient and cost efficient is unacceptable at best. Cougar should not in the first place be a for profit venture. It is a naturel resource that should be protected for all who wish to use it in its natural state. Not as a type of natural wonder amusement park. If this plan goes through, please assure Hoodoo that they will lose any future business that my family may have ever thought of giving them in both the summer and winter. I would also be sure that anyone I come in contact with is educated regarding the destruction of this natural wonder and who is responsible for this act. Please keep me posted and thank you for this alert.
Thank you,
Dan H. & Family

 

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I have never been to Cougar but if the put concrete in the pools I probably
will never go....
 

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I don't get down there as much as I would like to but one of the things
I love about Cougar is the fact that it's a natural hotspring.  I work
in concrete and  have made tubs for soaking, so you think I'd be all for
their proposal.  I'm not.  I know it's easy for me to say don't mess
with the natural quality of the spring, since I'm not the one that has
to clean them.  But I'm not for it.  My 2 cents.  Joe

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Greg,

 

The idea of using concrete in the pools is ridiculous.  We are infrequent visitors, living in California, so I am always a little bit anxious about what changes might have happened since the last time we visited.  It sounds like the labor intensive part of the cleaning process is the scrubbing, which would not be addressed by the concrete.  The pools seem remarkably stable (compared to other hot springs we visit), so I see no point at all in messing with a good thing.  If it ainít broke, donít fix it.

 

These springs still belong to all of us citizens and taxpayers of the United States, not to a private concessionaire.  Our enjoyment should be the primary consideration and that would best be served by preserving the existing environment.

 

Please be sure to let the FS know how we feel.  We hope to swing by there this summer.

 

Jim and Ann

 

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Dear Greg,
 
I made my biannual visit to Cougar (Terwilliger) on 28 May and spent four hours in the second pool. Please pass on to the Hoodoo people and the forest service that I am one user who strongly opposes concreting the pools. They should be left as they are, which is a beautifully natural appearance. There are nice stones on the bottom, so one does not need to sit in mud, as at McCredie or Olympia Hot Springs. (I did find that sitting for four hours on the rocks abraded my butt a bit, as the skin got soft, but that is not a problem.) Algae on the stones does not bother me. It is natural and I can envision no way of totally preventing it in a natural pool.
 
I think part of the problem with cleanliness is that there are some people whose standard for "clean" is their bathtub at home. Get a life, folks. This is an outdoor pool in the woods, with leaves and twigs and needles. The worst issue of cleanliness is the human debris that is left. When I got there that day, the detritus included a broken beer bottle on the edge of the little stream in back of pool two, a loaf of bread under the clothes hooks, a pair of men's shorts on the downhill edge of pool two, a couple of water bottles and some other smaller stuff.
 
Quite frankly, so  long as the pools don't have trash in them, I don't have a problem. Algae is the least of my worries.
 
-Cal

 

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