During the winter, the National Park Service got a report about damage to the facilities at Serpentine Hot Springs.
“The outhouse at Serpentine Hot Springs was blown over from its foundation by the strong winds,” said Fred Tocktoo, who works at Bering Land Bridge National Preserve with offices based in Nome.
Tocktoo learned there was also damage to gas lines and the tubs in the hot springs. The park service contacted volunteers in Shishmaref who checked on the facilities.
Three volunteers made multiple trips to repair the gas line and bring contaminated fuel back to Shishmaref for proper disposal. They were also able to fix the outhouse with support equipment sent up by NPS.
“As of today, everything is working good,” Tocktoo said Tuesday. “And we’re going to be going back some time this summer to actually look at the situation over again. But in the meantime everything is in order.”
The communities the Park Service partners with near the spring have their own interest in maintaining and preserving the sites.
“Shishmaref, along with Deering, utilize Serpentine Hot Springs for its spiritual and healing waters there. So it’s almost like a tradition,” Tocktoo explained.
According to the park service, volunteers were reimbursed for the fuel used snowmachining out to make repairs.