Saturday, September 18, 2004

Meager Hot Springs (Closed)

Meager Creek Hot Springs
(aka Cayley Hot Springs)
GPS Coordinates (WGS84)
N50.57548 W123.46486

The new owner of Scenic Hot Springs is Mr. Mike Sato who has experience developing hot springs in Canada. In light of the sensitive nature of Scenic and any potential development up there . . . much as we wish we could go back to the past . . . I thought it might be informative to explore Meager Hot Springs and Mr. Sato's involvement in that project.

At present and for the foreseeable future, Meager Hot Springs is closed due to a washout of the bridge over Meager Creek and the lack of funds to replace that bridge. This is the official BC Forest Service Closure Notice

Meager Creek Hot springs sits in a deep valley on the eastern edge of glacier-covered mountain ranges of the southern BC coast. It's a region of past volcanic activity and present geologic activity. Steep terrain of volcanic ash and river gravel makes this an area of landslides, floods, and avalanches. It's also a area full of wildlife.

The area has had a varied history best detailed in this report by a lover and long time visitor to those springs.

The area sits on active geothermal fields which the government of BC is intent on developing. Naturists and nudists have always flocked to Meager despite BC government attempts to ban or control them. Unable to outright ban the hot spring aficionados with warnings, gates across logging roads and the such, they at first attempted to control them with an independent contractor to maintain the site.

In 1996 a legal opinion was passed down that determined that all natural hot springs in BC crown land (akin to our federal land) came under the regulations in effect for swimming pools. Suddenly there was a panic about liability and no money for filtration, changing rooms, sanitary facilities and chemical treating of the natural hot spring water. The springs were closed again and the pools destroyed to make them incapable of holding water. It wasn't long before devotees once again repaired the damage and quietly got the pools going again . . . this time without a contractor to maintain the site. The BC government gave up and changed to language of the Swimming Pools Act to exempt natural hot springs.

In 1999, Mike Sato of Osen Sea to Sky and the BC Forestry service signed a lease giving Mr. Sato development and management rights to the springs and soon thereafter Japanese-style rock pools and waterfalls were built. In October of 2003 during last years heavy winter storms throughout the Pacific Northwest, the bridge (and sole access) over Meager Creek was washed away and remains so to this day. There is no money in the BC budget to reconstruct this bridge so Meager Hot Springs remains closed except to the hardy who will ignore warning signs and enter the unstable area.


Photos of Meager Hot Springs

(Photos "borrowed" from various places under the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act)

Japanese style rock pools with hot waterfalls replaced the old wooden tubs in 1999

A view of the Changing Room and Wooden Benches near one of the pools. © Toby Haynes, September 1999

Meager Creek is fast-flowing and close to the soaking pools. © Toby Haynes, September 1999

That's all she wrote folks. Meager Hot Springs is closed!

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