Saturday, June 23, 2007

Meager Creek Hot Springs: A Bridge?

Received from Mike Sato, the former operator of Meager Creek Hot Springs, and the present owner of Scenic Hot Springs.

Meager Creek Hot Springs is located near the headwaters of the Lillooet River 70 kms north of Pemberton, BC. It was one of the finest natural hot spring experiences until the bridge washout during the 2003 storms made access near-impossible. This is good news for hot springs afficianados.

The Meager Creek Bridge that was washed away during the October 2003 flood will likely be reconstructed this fall. After 4 years, the BC Provincial Government has finally approved the use of the Provincial Emergency Plan (PEP) to fund the reconstruction of the Meager Creek Bridge. I spoke with the Ministry of Forest District Engineering Officer a few weeks ago and he confirmed that the PEP was now available and that a contractor for the Meager Creek Bridge reconstruction will be determined by public tender process.

Because of BC Government restructuring, all Forest Recreation Sites (including Meager Creek Hot Springs) are now under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts since last year. I spoke with the Recreation Officer for the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, and he told me that Meager Creek Hot Springs is probably not yet suitable for public use. Since the hot springs have been closed for 4 years, he believed that the trail will be overgrown, and that the water course and pools will have to be restored before Meager Creek Hot Springs can be open to the public again. After the reconstruction of the Meager Creek Bridge is completed, the Recreation Officer will need to go and assess the site. Depending on the availability of funding, the hot spring restoration may be started this year and the Meager Creek Hot Springs may be opened to the public next spring. However, this all depends on the speed at which the reconstruction of the bridge will be completed as well as the availability of funding for restoration of the hot springs. Therefore, I believe that it is more reasonable to assume that the hot spring restoration will occur next spring and that Meager Creek Hot Springs will be opened to the public in the summer of 2008.

Even after the reconstruction of Meager Creek Bridge is completed, the Meager Creek road will be closed at the 37km turnoff. The Meager Creek road will remain closed until the restoration of Meager Creek Hot Springs pools and site is completed. Meager Creek Hot Springs will remain closed to the public until further notice. As in previous years, the gates located at 9 km on the Lillooet River FSR, just north of the Hurley River turn off, will be closed and locked in December.

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