Agreement reached to restore Tolovana Hot Spring access near Fairbanks

Two skiers in low light in mid winter next to short spruce trees
Skiers make their way towards Tolovana Hot Springs at -35 F in 2012. (Nathaniel Wilder/APRN)

Access to Tolovana Hot Springs north of Fairbanks has been restored after the private operator of its cabins and tubs agreed to pay for user access over Native corporation land.

In October, Tolovana Ltd. stopped taking reservations for its popular cabins at the hot springs after Native corporation Doyon Ltd. blocked access to the parking area and trailhead along the Elliot Highway. Doyon said at the time they wanted to limit trespass, litter and liability issues.

RELATED: Doyon cuts off access to Tolovana Hot Springs over litter, liability concerns

Tom DeLong with Tolovana Ltd. said the company has since secured and paid for a permit to cross Doyon and Minto Village Corporation property where the parking area and the first mile of a ten-mile access trail are located.

The trail is the shortest and only year-round overland access for people headed to the hot springs. While the permit has restored access for now, DeLong said a longer-term solution will be discussed.

Most of the trail to Tolovana Hot Springs is on state land, while the hot springs itself is on Bureau of Land Management property leased to Tolovana Ltd. An access easement was eliminated by BLM at the request of the Native corporations when the land along the highway was transferred to them under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in the 1980s. 

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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