ADRIAN — Starting Friday, federal officials will be “taking stricter measures” regarding illegal activity — including underage drinking and drug use — at a local swimming spot on public lands, according to a news release on Nov. 9 from the Bureau of Land Management’s Vale District.
As of Friday, those who are found violating laws, including nighttime use, at Snively Hot Springs “will be issued citations for trespassing and/or federal violation notices,” according to the release. This is a shift from patrols that were conducted starting in March which focused on education and awareness of the laws.
The hot springs is only open to the public from sunrise to sunset. However, according to the Vale BLM, it has become a hotbed for illegal activity during nighttime hours. In addition to being a “popular area” for illicit drug use, the Vale BLM states a number of incidents related to driving under the influence have been associated with the swimming spot.
As was the case earlier this year, the agency will continue to be assisted in patrolling the area by the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police.
Activities prohibited on public lands include littering, illegal drug use (including marijuana), underage drinking, and driving under the influence. According the release, nudity can be considered causing a hazard or nuisance.
Laws regarding nudity in Oregon on public lands generally ban the activity in more populated areas. This includes most developed recreation sites, such as campgrounds and day use areas. Some clothing-optional hot spring sites which can be found on land managed by the Forest Service in Oregon are clearly marked as such.
As a day use area, camping is always disallowed in and around the site.
“The BLM is committed to ensuring the safety of users on public lands,” said Stephanie Cox, law enforcement ranger for the Vale BLM, in the release. “We encourage the public to follow all rules and regulations to maintain the safety at this popular recreation site to ensure it can stay opened for future use.”
Those who travel to the area to utilize the hot springs in the off-season are urged to be prepared for inclement weather conditions, such as rain, snow, high winds, muddy or icy roads and cold temperatures.
Malheur County Undersheriff Travis Johnson previously reminded those who use public lands to be responsible: “pick up your trash, stay on maintained roads and know the rules and possible restrictions before you visit an area.”