Ash Springs closes pond

The ever-popular swimming hole in Ash Springs has been shut down, indefinitely. The pond was officially closed as of July 6, Victoria Barr of the Caliente BLM office reported, because of safety hazards. Chains have been placed on the gate.

After noticing a child playing near a wall of rocks that looked as if they could tumble at any moment, a law enforcement officer brought it to the attention of the BLM, Barr said.

“The structural instability as well as bank erosion and undercutting has caused a concern for public safety,” said Barr.

Barr said the pool wall is made of retaining bricks that was constructed 20 years ago by BLM. Barr said visitors have taken it upon themselves to remove, replace and rearrange rocks on that wall. The retaining wall is now separating from the bank.

Barr said visitors have also constructed an additional dam, downstream, because visitors wanted a higher water level. This addition was not BLM authorized, and has caused the soil to erode quicker, which has destabilized the strength of the natural banks. There has also been undercuts made to banks, and holes on the ground lets you see into the water. This raised another concern, as the banks could collapse, resulting in injuries.

Repairs will move slowly, as there are two federally protected fish that swim the waters there, the Pahranagat roundtail chub and the White River springfish. The recent budget cuts only add to the difficulty.

The BLM will have to do consulting with  the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and possibly the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for repairs to take place.

The amount of time needed for repairs is uncertain at this time, but Barr thinks it could be, “weeks at this point.” She said their plan is to go through an official closure, and then start a collaborative planning process with the stakeholders and other federal agencies. “We anticipate public meetings,” she said, and when those meetings get scheduled, will be able to inform the public.

Commissioner Adam Katschke said, “We miss having it open, especially the businesses in Alamo and Pahranagat Valley.” He also said, “We’d like to see some steps taken to reopen it.”

Barr asked, “for people to cooperate with the closure to ensure public safety.”

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Comments

  1. Mike Ray says:

    If anyone actually believes the BLM will ever reopen Little Ash, I have some ocean front property out in Cherry Creek for sale. The BLM has had Its head burried in the sand in regards to Little Ash for years. Their typical answer in regards to problems there has been, “we’ll just shut it down”. Now they have found their excuse to do so. Barr’s statement that it will be “weeks” is laughable. It will be years, most likely never. The BLM squandered over a million dollars of money designated for Little Ash improvements by having meetings to decide how to spend the money. They are already citing budget cuts when referring to this issue. Goodbye Little Ash, it was fun while it lasted.

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  1. […] Lincoln Country Record reported that the popular swimming hole at the Ash Springs hot springs north of Alamo was shut down because […]

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