US Forest Service Shuts Down Top Tourist Spot ‘Indefinitely’ After Second Body Found

Two deaths in about 16 months have caused the U.S. Forest Service to shut down Miracle Hot Springs along the Kern River in California’s Sequoia National Forest.

In a Monday news release, the Forest Service announced the closure, citing bodies found on Feb. 17 of this year and Oct. 17, 2022.

Neither the names of the deceased nor their causes of death were released.

The Forest Service said the area would remain closed “unless a sustainable long-term solution is reached,” which the Los Angeles Times took to mean “indefinitely.”

Visitors have enjoyed the “warm, mineral-enhanced waters” of the site for years, according to the Times.

“The mineral water is rich with 6+ precious mineral compounds that include Sulfur, Magnesium, Calcium, Chloride, Iron, and Sodium,” according to the Miracle Hot Springs Conservancy, which says its mission is to support the maintenance of the area, which it describes on its website as currently “destroyed.”

Some of the rock and mortar tubs were damaged in 2020, and while discussions were held about how to repair and maintain them, the 2022 death occurred.

In response, the Forest Service destroyed the tubs, the Times reported.

Nonetheless, according to the outlet, some continued to visit the site, and some even tried rebuilding some of the tubs.

Flooding along the Kern River last year left the tubs completely underwater, but the area became accessible again when the flood waters receded.

“Hal Chiprin, a volunteer with the Hot Springs Angels, said the group is having conversations with the Forest Service to try to get the hot springs reopened and more effectively patrolled, which he said would alleviate safety issues,” the Times reported.

The news release from the Forest Service appears in its entirety below. (Its formatting has been changed slightly.)

Due to public health and safety concerns, Miracle Hot Springs will be closed indefinitely.

After the 2023 winter and spring flooding on the Kern River, Miracle Hot Springs was under the high-water mark and inaccessible. Since river levels have dropped, the previously removed tub area was exposed again.

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, a deceased individual was found in one of the Miracle Hot Springs tubs. Previously, on October 17, 2022, a deceased individual was also found in the same area.

“Public safety is of utmost importance to Forest Service officials. With a second death that can be attributed in part to the hot springs, the area will remain closed until a sustainable long-term solution is reached,” says District Ranger Al Watson.

An area closure order will be in place soon prohibiting access to the hot springs, tubs, and general vicinity.

Sandy Flat Campground, near Miracle Hot Springs day use area, is open to the public and accepts reservations through Recreation.gov.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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