A notice posted on the website for Tolovana Hot Springs, Ltd. is informing guests that the company was issued a notice of trespass by Doyon, Ltd. on Thursday and that the trailhead leading to the hot springs has been blocked.
Visiting Tolovana Hot Springs is especially popular in the winter. The notice was posted to multiple Fairbanks area hiking groups on Facebook, with one commenter posting that they had their reservation for cabins at the hot springs canceled due to trail use issues.
Tolovana Hot Springs, Ltd. provides rental facilities for use of the hot springs through a lease agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. The company was assigned the lease in 1988 by the previous owner and renewed the lease for 20-year terms in March 1998 and again in 2019, according to a decision record memorandum from the Bureau of Land Management.
That document also states that access to Tolovana Hot Springs, “is provided by a 10.1 mile bulldozed trail from milepost 93 on the Elliott Highway where there is a parking lot and loading ramp. The trail was built in 1968 as required under the original lease and at that time was located on public lands. Land ownership underlying the trail is now State of Alaska, Doyon Regional Corporation, and SethdeYa-Ah Corporation (Village of Minto).”
The memorandum also states that the lessees have permission from the state of Alaska and Doyon for the trail and that Seth-De-Ya-Ah, “is aware of the trail crossing their lands and have not objected in writing to its use.”
Both the memorandum from the Bureau of Land Management and local trail users on social media noted that the trail in question is not the only way to access the hot springs though it is easily the most convenient.
The memorandum notes, “Other means of access is by small plane via a public owned airstrip and 1.25 mile State owned trail connecting to the hot springs. Snow machine access is also available via a 45-mile winter trail from Murphy Dome via the Chatanika River, the old Livengood-Dunbar sled road and a primitive trail crossing the Tolovana River Valley. This later trail is very steep and is not used by many visitors due to safety concerns.”
Multiple requests for comment from the News-Miner to both Doyon, Ltd. and Tolovana Hot Springs, Ltd. have not received a response.
Contact staff writer Sam Ferrara at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.