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Time for Sleeping Child Hot Springs to be public

 

How many of us would like to leave a lasting legacy for all Montanans such as Senator Lee Metcalf did, or any number of other people whose good works in the past now benefit all of us?

Here is an opportunity to explore creating such a legacy.

Sleeping Child Hot Springs, just south of Hamilton, has been privately owned for many years. I can’t find reference as to when if first went into private hands, but it may have been pre-USFS. The forty acres of private property is completely surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands. It is for sale again for $12,900,000.

I’m proposing setting up a group of like-minded people to explore moving Sleeping Child Hot Springs into public domain (USFS, the State of Montana, or perhaps – more appropriately — under the auspices of the Salish tribe) with the idea of having it open to the public in perpetuity.

There are many examples of this type of thing working in the West: Thermopolis Hot Springs State Park in Wyoming (set aside in a treaty with the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes on the condition that part of the park be free to public use); the municipal pool at Hot Springs, Montana; and numerous less-developed public hot springs all over the Northwest that are on USFS or BLM land.

Yes, there are questions. 1) Where would the money come from; 2) Are the facilities able to handle large groups of people; 3) Who would then “own” the land and administer upkeep; etc.? I’m sure that dozens more questions will come up.

However, if we do not explore this now, Sleeping Child Hot Springs could remain in private, wealthy hands forever. Let us see what we can find out about getting this incredibly magic place available for not only our own use, but that of our great, great grandchildren.

Please contact me at 363-1806 or on Facebook at “Sleeping Child Hot Springs for all” and let’s set up a time and place for a group meeting.

Dorinda Troutman

Hamilton

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