*Report on January 18 US Forest Service Open House **and request for immediate feedback to the USFS concerning nude usage of Bagby Hot Springs:*
The U.S. Forest Service hosted an open house on Tuesday, January 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mount Hood National Forest headquarters in Sandy, Oregon. A number of Forest Service employees were there to talk, one-on-one or in groups, to those in attendance on allowing private management of Bagby Hot Springs and 27 campgrounds in the Mount Hood National Forest. There was no formal program or public presentations, but opportunity was given at the event for written input by those attending. A number of AANR members were present and participated in the discussions.
According to one USFS employee, there were two actual bids submitted on the contracting out request for bids. She did not name the bidders. The additional Forest Service-run sites would be added to an existing concession permit that already covers 28 recreation sites. Bagby Hot Springs has been evidently withdrawn from the proposal and only the 27 additional campgrounds will be offered for permit in 2011. The usual permit term is five years but, the Forest Service has decided that the campground concession permit will be let out for only one year, and then, at the end of 2011, the bid process will be done again.
A public letter was issued by the Forest Service saying they are doing an Environmental Analysis (EA) regarding the possibility of a concessionaire at Bagby. *The 30-day comment period for written public input began in mid-January and ends on Monday, February 14.* The decision regarding whether Bagby Hot Springs will be under a concessionaire permit and included with the 27 campgrounds, or a volunteer group permit, or Forest Service management will be made on factors including public comments received. The decision will be made quickly, by March or April, but the Forest Service will continue management through 2011 and may possibly include Bagby with the 27 campgrounds in 2012.
The open house was not strictly dealing with the 1992 anti-nudity Order that is in effect at Bagby, but a number of people present were concerned about that particular issue. AANR has been following this issue since citations were issued a few years ago and the previously unknown Order came to light. Prior discussions between USFS officials and AANR/AANR-NW representatives yielded no breakthroughs on this issue. Naturist Action Committee (NAC) representatives were also present at one of these meetings.
Our position is that simple nudity in and around the hot tubs, absent any other type of illegal conduct, is a long-time historic tradition at Bagby Hot Springs and should be allowed. The Forest Service is adamant that they do not wish to cancel the Order issued in 1992, banning nudity at Bagby. That is because an alcohol ban and night closure of the site were also part of that Order. It was also stated that the cost involved in cancelling the order would be prohibitive. We believe that a simple amendment to the order, allowing nudity in the hot tubs and around the hot tub area would return to the spirit and intent of the historical hot springs usage. There is no anti-nudity ordinance/law in Clackamas county (where Bagby is situated) or in the state of Oregon.
Please send in your comments to the address(es) at the bottom of this e-mail before Monday, February 14. You may identify yourself as a nudist, an AANR member or as an “interested party.” Please write in clear language about why you desire to see Bagby Hot Springs as a clothes-optional recreation area. If you have been a user of the hot springs in the past, please relate your experiences using the site nude. If you were unaware in the past about the 1992 Order, please also state that information. Mail and/or e-mail feedback is preferred over phone contact.
Other groups attending the January 18 open house and expressing an interest in Bagby include the Bagby Caretakers, BARK (a northwest grass roots forest advocacy group) and the Northwest Forest Conservancy. The nudity ban is not a major issue with these groups, although some opinion in the groups leans our way. At this point, AANR does not have a recommendation, one way or the other, concerning future contracting of the facilities to a private contractor.
Use this link if you desire to view the USFS information on their website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/projects/nepa_project.shtml?project=32471
Here is part of the request for input: “Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project, available for public inspection, and released if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
“Electronic comments must be submitted as part of the actual e-mail message, or as an attachment in Microsoft Word (.doc), rich text format (.rtf), or portable document format (.pdf) only. E-mails submitted to email addresses other than the one listed below, or in formats other than those listed, or containing viruses, will be rejected.
“Comments and/or requests for additional information on the Preliminary Assessment should be addressed to Malcolm Hamilton at:
*Mail: 16400 Champion Way, Sandy, Oregon 97055 Phone: (503) 668-1792; office hours 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, M-F Fax: (503) 668-1413 Email: ** **email@example.com*
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