A commercial outfitting company has requested to install hot tubs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness (FCRNRW) near existing air strips for the use of wealthy clients. The comment deadline is this evening, March 5, 2004, as stated in a letter released February 18, 2004, but unknown by River Runners for Wilderness until now.
"At first I took this to be a joke because it is so clearly incompatible with appropriate wilderness stewardship," observed Tom Martin, Co-director of River Runners for Wilderness, "but I became extremely concerned once it was apparent that it is a serious proposal."
The proposal involves filling, draining and re-filling the "temporary" hot tubs with 1,250 gallons of fresh water every three days for the enjoyment of clients who can afford to fly in to these locations. Although wood-burning stoves are to be used to heat the water, the method of filling the hot tubs was not disclosed. "I find it unlikely that a bucket brigade will fill and empty these 3 large tanks every three days" noted Jo Johnson, also of River Runners for Wilderness. "It is hard to imagine there will be a wilderness-compatible scenario for such a task, and furthermore, that wilderness managers would even consider it" she continued. No mention is made of how the tanks will be transported into and out of the area since motorized vehicle use in FCRNR is prohibited.
Please submit your comments today to the fax or phone number in the public review notice below. River Runners for Wilderness would like to point out that in the event that you are not able to submit your concerns immediately, comments received soon after agency deadlines are often considered.
Date: February 18, 2004
Dear Interested Public:
The Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest is beginning the environmental analysis process in response to a request for use of hot tubs in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The proposal is to set up a hot tub in three different locations on the Krassel Ranger District: Cabin Creek in T21N, R12E, Section 24, and Mile Hi in T21N, R12E, Section 16, in Valley County, and Cold Meadows in T23N, RI 2E, Section 35, in Idaho County.
Hot tubs would be temporary structures that would be set up in the spring and taken down in the fall. Each hot tub holds 1250 gallons and the water would be heated with a submergible "Snorkel" wood stove. Water would be allowed to cool before it is drained and tubs would be refilled on an average of every three days. No soap or chemicals would be used in hot tubs.
We are conducting scoping for issues the environmental analysis should address. If you wish to participate, please contact us so that we may keep you informed. Please send us your comments or concerns by March 5, 2004. If you respond by this date you may be assured that your comments will be incorporated into the environmental analysis process.
Comments received in response to this letter, including names and addresses, will be considered part of the public record on this proposal and will be available for public review.
Further information may be obtained by contacting Clem Pope, at (208) 634-0600. Please send your comments to: Quinn Carver, District Ranger, Krassel Ranger District, PO Box 1026, McCall, Idaho 83638; call (208) 634-0600 or fax (208) 634-0634. Thank you for taking the time to assist us in managing your National Forest.
C. QUINN CARVER