When you go to a geothermally active area, such as the Eastern Sierra, natural hot springs are one of the many treasures to be had. Visiting the hot springs is permitted year-round, but some access roads are closed in winter to protect habitat, prevent erosion, and for public safety.
It has become the unbecoming norm for users of these treasures to cut locks, break fences, leave behind trash and all the gross, disgusting things you can imagine.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently posted on Facebook the following:
“Another weekend means another clean up at the BLM’s popular Whitmore Hot Springs area in Long Valley. The harsh and saddening reality for our many visitors is the recurrence of trash, food debris, plastic, feminine hygiene products, forgotten towels, human waste, toilet paper and as of late, masks. Not only does this change a visitor’s experience but it negatively impacts the behavior of wildlife essential to a healthy ecosystem. There are currently NO trash or bathroom services at the hot tubs so it is important to respect the land by always:
- Packing out your trash and food scraps.
- Dispose of human waste properly by digging a cathole 6-inches deep, at least 200 feet away from any water, and where there are no cultural resources and cover thoroughly. Don’t leave any paper waste! #PackItOut
- Minimize any action that could harm wildlife and their ecosystem.
We all love the epic scenery that surrounds us out there, please visit the Eastern Sierra prepared to make as little impact as possible on #YourPublicLands #LeaveNoTrace #RecreateResponsibly
Kelly McCarthy, BLM”
Please enjoy these natural treasures and treat them as such. If the gate is locked, there’s a reason. Enjoy the scenery as you walk that final stretch to soak! Help keep the magic alive by spreading the word to others and leading by example.