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Popular hot springs closed when an Idaho tribe bought it. What’s next?

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This spring, change rolled into the popular Zim’s Hot Springs near New Meadows. The family that owned it for more than three decades handed over the keys to a new owner. In the weeks since, the pools remained empty, the building locked up.

Members of the community wonder what’s ahead.

The Nez Perce Tribe bought the popular hot springs earlier this year from the Dixon family, which operated Zim’s since the 1970s. Zim’s Hot Springs features two outdoor hot pools ranging from 90 to 106 degrees. The pools mixed water from an artesian hot spring well and the Little Salmon River for swimming.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the tribe,” Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee Chairman Shannon Wheeler wrote in a news release. “As the original people of this land, the hot springs and the entire area are an important part of our culture and history.”

The tribe hopes to get the business back up and running – open to the public much as before. It’s a popular hot spot – literally – for residents and visitors to the greater-McCall area.

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“They are going through getting some permits and insurance that is required,” Kayeloni Scott communication manager for the tribe told BoiseDev. “That’s the only reason that it is closed.”

Gaming at Zim’s?

A community member contacted BoiseDev after hearing gaming could come to the facility. The Nez Perce Tribe operates casino gaming the Clearwater Casino in Lewiston and the It’se Ye-Ye Casino in Kamiah.

[A new event center on Payette Lake near McCall? Not so fast]

Scott says gambling isn’t in the plan for Zim’s Hot Springs.

“Right now they are looking at getting the doors back open as soon as we can,” she said.

Marissa Morrison, spokesperson for Idaho Gov. Brad Little said any gaming use would need state approval.

“In order to have any gambling there, it would have to go through a process with the state for approval,” she said. “As far as I know that process has not been initiated.”

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