RFEI Part #2: Managing Bagby Hot Springs To Benefit the Community
This is part 2 of Bagby Conservation Collective’s Plans for Bagby Hot Springs as expressed and submitted to the Forest Service in our Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) reply in September 2020. We will post parts of our RFEI response on our blog with expanded comments and notes. Text in Bold is taken from the RFEI.
“Bagby Conservation Collective, recognizing the interconnectedness of the National Forest and the communities that rely on forest resources and sustainable tourism, proposes to manage Bagby Hot Springs as a safe, welcoming, year-round destination for all. Bagby Conservation Collective will manifest and maintain this vision through the application of visitor and recreation industry best practices, innovative partnerships with gateway communities, foundations, government agencies, universities, businesses, and year-round volunteer stewardship activities at Bagby Hot Springs.”
“application of visitor and recreation industry best practices” What does this mean? For one thing, managing visitor expectations by posting historical use data: when is Bagby busy? We hope this encourages people to plan their trips and soaks for non-peak days and hours. People may be less surprised when they arrive and the parking lot is full and there’s 45 minute wait for the tubs. We hope that forewarned is forearmed.
“recognizing the interconnectedness of the National Forest and the communities that rely on forest resources and sustainable tourism,” The money people spend as the travel to and from Bagby Hot Springs is vital to cities and towns like Estacada, Sandy and Detroit.
Diverse partnerships (“partnerships with…foundations, government agencies, universities, businesses…”) will allow us to raise funds and keep busy supporting other projects across the Clackamas River Ranger District when the road to Bagby is blocked by landslides or fire has closed the springs and wilderness. Diverse partnerships, diverse activities, diverse funding sources mean Bagby Conservation Collective can and will weather the storms that will challenge for-profit corporations.
Legacy Guardians – Investing in the protection of Bagby Hot Springs for the long-haul.
Without non-profit management, there will be no Bagby Hot Springs as we know it today. Without having funds with which to operate and to fight for that cause, its a forgone conclusion of development.
If we are not initially awarded the contract, donations will be put to work helping to fight that decision. Our initial response will be to file a formal appeal and begin litigation against the decision. The Forest Service is known to stray from their stated guidelines and policies, sometimes requiring litigation to keep them in check. This is something that has occurred at Bagby in the past, and we are working with legal professionals to prepare for this unfortunate potentiality. If that fails we will continue to put boots on the ground providing ecological and historical oversite, and advocating for equitable access. We will never stop caring or advocating for the preservation of this magical place.
Sacred Space in peril of destruction & development
First, let us tell you a little about Bagby Hot Springs, and some of the things that make it a truly unique and magical place. For one, Bagby is the closest soak available, really the only public soak, for the 2,478,810 Portland/Metro population. At Bagby, you can soak in the hot mineral waters of our mother earth, straight from the source. The three major springs and several minor seeps there run, year round, 24 hours a day. The large bathhouse flows 24 gallons per minute, at 138 degrees. There is a cold water cistern, another natural spring fed water source, from which the cold water comes. You can custom mix whatever temperature suits your fancy. Each bathhouse has a source of both cold and hot water. Some are running, and some you might have to tote in a bucket or three of cold water. The tubs themselves are made of wood. Some are centuries old logs, hand hewn from huge trees found at the site. Others are newer, yet are still wooden tubs. Bagby is a destination for soakers and seekers, worldwide as well as locally. In fact, the trail that leads to the springs is the most heavily used trail in the Forest. That trail winds through majestic old growth, along a beautiful stream. The hike in and out itself is an awe inspiring experience.
Sounds great right? Well, it is. It is a place people go to commune with nature and to relax, get away from … whatever they want.
So, what is the problem? Well, Bagby has a history of neglect, and…
A Community Vision For Bagby Hot Springs
AKA: Bagby Conservation Collective’s Plans for Bagby Hot Springs as expressed and submitted to the Forest Service in our Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) reply.
Welcome to our first blog post! We hope to share larger posts here that don’t fit well in the small spaces provided by social media.
In 2020 Bagby Conservation Collective asked the community of people who love Bagby Hot Springs for their thoughts about what should happen at Bagby in the future. We placed the most common themes (safety, respect for nature, volunteering, restoration and preservation instead of development) espoused by the Bagby community into our RFEI response which we submitted in September 2020.
We will post parts of our RFEI response on our blog with expanded comments and notes. Please let us know what you think; kind, considerate and constructive comments are very welcome!
As we develop our application response to the recently announced 20-year Special Use Permit to Operate Bagby Hot Springs your comments will inform our work.
Please remember, the Forest Service-led RFEI process was about visioning: The Forest Service wanted to know if they split off Bagby Hot Springs and Campground from a larger, multi-campground concession permit that only large corporations could compete for, what would prospective applicants do with the place? This means some of the material in our RFEI was just that, a vision; not everything we proposed will be implemented if BCC wins the bid. We will post some of this visioning material in the blog with this caveat.
For decades people asked that if Bagby Hot Springs was to have active management that it be managed by a non-profit organization. Together we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a difference and to ensure generations to come can experience the peace, beauty and wonder of Bagby Hot Springs. The next permit issued by the Forest Service to operate Bagby Hot Springs will endure for 20 years. Now is the time to make your voice heard. We have until August 30th to raise enough money to apply to manage Bagby Hot Springs, please donate today!
Become a Member and join the special community of people who care about Bagby Hot Springs.
From Bagby Conservation Collective’s Plans for Bagby Hot Springs as submitted to the Forest Service in our Request For Expressions of Interest document.
Setting the Stage (from Bagby Conservation Collective’s RFEI Cover Letter)
“In submitting this document, Bagby Conservation Collective is expressing interest in the stewardship opportunity of Bagby Hot Springs as put forth in the RFEI. Our mission is to protect and preserve the ecological, historical, and cultural significance of the Greater Bagby Hot Springs Area while ensuring safe and sustainable access for all. This document outlines our plans for non-profit management of the springs, trailhead, and campground as well as proposed plans for engagement in the greater Clackamas River Ranger District. Through these efforts, in partnership with the Forest Service, we seek to enhance and reinvigorate the charming experience that Bagby Hot Spring offers. With a diverse set of partners and volunteers, and with the expert assistance of a dedicated staff and crew, Bagby Conservation Collective is willing and able to be the stewards of this invaluable treasure.”
We will continue to post sections of our RFEI response on our blog with expanded comments and notes. Please let us know what you think; kind, considerate and constructive comments are very welcome!
We have until August 30th to raise enough money to apply to manage Bagby Hot Springs.