Penny Hot Springs has become dangerous situation |

Penny Hot Springs has become dangerous situation

The Penny Hot Springs policy from Pitkin County Open Space has been a complete failure. I served on the PHS steering committee almost two years ago where it was agreed that there would be basic signage to end camping/overnight parking, as well as a host of many other issues. To date, there has been a portable toilet structure installed, which has just enabled the constant influx of people illegally camping at the hot springs on any given night of the week or year.

The decades old lack of enforcement from the Pitkin County sheriff for illegal camping up and down the Crystal River continues. The Sheriff’s Office always mentions their lack of funding and personnel.

Now, there are barricades in the middle of the PHS pullout, big machinery and workers who are in a rock scaling/removal operation opposite the parking lot. Yet no one in Pitkin County leadership has had the basic insight to close the hot springs while all this is going on. And every time you drive by, you are put in danger from drivers who are trying to back out with massive blind spots.

The signage at PHS is woefully inadequate still — a tiny sign at the middle of the lot that doesn’t mention prohibition of overnight parking/camping. Users ignore the rules on any given day, with dogs there and people trespassing at Filoha.

Meanwhile, we pay ridiculous property taxes in Pitkin County, with a disproportionate amount going to Open Space, while funding for basic infrastructure like the Sheriff’s Office and hospital beds are woefully underfunded. Leadership does very little with real public safety, while the health department tells businesses they “may allow individuals to remove their masks in an indoor public setting if 80% of the guests have shown proof of vaccination.” How Stalinist. Pitkin County leadership is a joke — they’re as hostile to common sense as they are to business.

When someone at PHS hits your car as you drive by, make sure Open Space and Trails is one of those that you sue.

David Johnson


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