For the first time, backpackers headed to Conundrum Hot Springs this summer will need a permit to camp in the area. Those go on sale starting Wednesday morning.
In the past, up to 300 people camped on busy weekends at the hot springs; now, there’s a maximum of 68 people who can stay overnight.
The U.S. Forest Service will increase their presence at the trailhead, along the trail and at the hot springs. The agency will have one additional ranger, and two more interns than they employed last summer. Those positions are funded by grants.
Anyone who plans to camp and doesn’t have a permit will be turned around, or could be fined. Katy Nelson with the Forest Service said the goal is to educate hikers about the change ahead of time.
“We do have some additional education through this permit system so we are hoping that kind of slides us to a more positive direction,” Nelson said.
Campers can watch a short video about Leave No Trace ethics and will need to sign a waiver, acknowledging they will follow regulations to protect the ecosystem.