January 18 Open House Input requested concerning proposed management changes at Bagby Hot Springs

*January 18 Open House Input requested concerning proposed management changes at Bagby Hot Springs*

The U.S. Forest Service is hosting an open house on Tuesday, January 18 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the national forest headquarters in Sandy, Oregon (see directions in final paragraph). The purpose of the event is to host discussion on allowing private management of Bagby Hot Springs and a number of campgrounds in the Mount Hood National Forest. The Forest Service already put out the bid information and, although two management companies showed interested, no bids were received. The bid process, if completed, would add Bagby and 28 campgrounds and day-use areas to a concession permit that already covers three dozen recreation sites. Increasingly, as Forest Service personnel budgets have shrunken, private management has been looked at and contracts in other areas (including the Willamette National Forest) have been awarded.

An environmental assessment evidently will be completed before Bagby and the campgrounds will be included in a concession permit. 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, and there will be a 30-day comment period soon for written public input. Here is a part of that 1 1/4-page letter: “The Developed Recreation Site Concessionaire Permit Environmental Assessment (EA) is still in the process of being completed and no decision has been made yet. The Forest is requesting your comments on this project to help guide the final decision. Upon completion of the EA, there will be no further public comment period. As such, this 30-day comment period represents the final pre-decisional opportunity for public review of the project. Comments must be received or postmarked within 30 days of the date that notice for this comment period is published in *The Oregonian*.”

The Forest Service is also apparently seeking some public input on Bagby at this open house. If you choose to attend, and are allowed to speak, please identify yourself as a nudist, be civil, keep your speech short and on-target. Our position is that simple nudity in and around the hot tubs, absent any other type of illegal conduct, is a long-time tradition at Bagby Hot Springs and should be allowed. We also intend to request and submit written comment during the 30-day period.

During a recent meeting of an AANR Government Affairs representative with Mount Hood Forest Supervisor Andrei Rykoff concerning Bagby, Rykoff stated that the existing anti-nudity order could only be changed by doing an EA. Perhaps the new Assesment could revisit the prior anti-nudity Order. At the very least, this will be an opportunity to make a strong statement that the 1992 anti-nudity Order is unneccessary and needs to be changed. Also, it should be emphasized that a major reason the Forest Service is not getting comments to change the Order is that most of the public still don’t know about it.

Here is the Forest Service site with some information on what is proposed to happen concerning concessionaires at Bagby and other locations: *http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/projects/nepa_project.shtml?project=32471*

Update on Bagby Hot Springs physical site: Ranger Rykoff stated in the recent meeting that the old log tubs had been degrading for quite a while and the Forest Service had decided to replace them. The Forest Service installed a new round tub and one ofuro 2- or 3-person oval tub on the lower deck before winter weather set in. They will be installing two more ofuro tubs on the lower deck this year, to replace the three old log tubs.

Please consider coming to this open house if you care about allowing nudity at the Bagby Hot Springs area.

The Forest Service headquarters is located at16400 Champion Way in Sandy, Oregon. The headquarters is the first building on the right (coming from the west), about 300 yards before you reach the first stoplight west of Sandy. If you miss the turn off, you can turn right at the light and loop around on back roads to get there.

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