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2002 LEGISLATIVE REPORT
| 60. ||PROJECT:||Hot Springs State Park, Big Springs Study|
|SPONSOR:||Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources|
|Division of State Parks and Historical Sites|
|LOCATION:||Hot Springs County|
The Big Spring at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis produces around 2,500 gallons per minute
and the thermal characteristics of the water are important considerations for use by the State Park at
the State Bath House and by commercial users at Star Plunge, Teepee Pool, Holiday Inn, and Plaza
Hotel. The water quality and thermal characteristics are also important in the formation and
maintenance of the park's mineral terraces. State Parks personnel distribute flow and maintain all
conveyance structures. Previous studies at the hot springs range in subject matter from early USGS
reports on the thermal spring phenomena at Thermopolis to a Wyoming Geological Survey study of
the overall geohydrothermal system in the Thermopolis anticline (1982), to a present study by
Wyoming Department of Agriculture Analytical Services on water chemistry and microorganisms
found at the park. A report commissioned by the Board of Charities and Reform (submitted by
Simons, Li and Associates in 1983) consisted of a field study at the park and resultant monitoring
plans, management plans, and directions for implementation of best alternatives. The overall 1983
plan was designed to improve and modify the existing water delivery system, to improve irrigation
of terraces, to ascertain the actual quantities and variability in Big Spring discharge and conveyance
system (to users and terraces), and to augment and regulate the supply of water delivered to the
terraces and users, depending on monitoring results. Some of the recommendations of the 1983
study were implemented and some were not.
Present problems at the park include, 1) difficulty in delivering adequate cooling water to the Tepee
Pool concession, 2) The discharge line from the Star Plunge concession back to the river does not
drain properly and backflows onto the streets, 3) Supply to maintain the terraces appears to be
dwindling, but without adequate measurement it is difficult to prove where the losses are occurring,
and 4) public health concerns for human pathogens are an increasing concern for the park as no
chlorination is used.
The Department of State Parks is requesting a WWDC study to specifically determine the following:
- What volumes of water are presently being used.
- What volumes of water are needed for safe operation of the public pools and hot tubs.
- What volumes of water are needed to maintain the terraces.
- What techniques could be used to measure the delivery of water to all users.
- What modifications to the delivery system are needed to deliver the appropriate volumes to the
- What modifications to the drainage system are needed to adequately return water to the Big Horn
- To determine which entities are responsible for maintaining what portions of the delivery
- What written agreements should be developed to specify the amounts of water to be delivered.
- What kinds of written agreements should be developed to specify who is responsible for the
construction and maintenance of various portions of the system.
- Any other recommendations to help the Division of State Parks determine how to best manage
the water from the Big Spring.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends the project be incorporated in the Rehabilitation program at Level I with
an appropriation of $50,000.