Wyoming State Parks "regretfully" announced Tuesday the Star Plunge, one of three hot springs in Hot Springs State Park, has been immediately — but temporarily — closed.
The reason for the temporary closure is Star Plunge allowed its required liability coverage to lapse, which means it would have no legal or financial protection if a guest were hurt.
“They are obligated by contract to provide us proof of liability insurance,” Nick Neylon, deputy director of Wyoming State Parks, told Cowboy State Daily. “We have not had proof of that for some time. When pressed, they could not offer proof.
“So, we have to shut them down until they can provide us with that proof.”
Neylon said he and his staff have been talking with Star Plunge management “extensively” over the last five days, pressing for that proof of insurance. Star Plunge management repeatedly said they were “working through it.”
Wyoming State Parks contacted Star Plunge’s insurance provider to check the status of the liability coverage, which the provider confirmed was expired “for a period of time” and had not been renewed.
Star Plunge was given a deadline to provide proof of liability insurance. When it failed to meet the deadline, Wyoming State Parks closed the pool.
“They can’t operate without liability insurance,” Neylon said. “God forbid anybody goes there and gets hurt when they don’t have insurance.”
In Hot Water
Star Plunge has been a fixture in Hot Springs State Park since 1900, although its ownership and management has changed several times. The pool’s website says the facility has two large pools, three water slides, two hot tubs, a vapor cave, three Jacuzzis, two baby pools and a 10-foot diving board.
The Luehne Family has owned and operated Star Plunge since 1975.
Both Neylon and Wyoming State Parks emphasize that the closure is temporary. The pool with reopen once it’s proven the liability insurance coverage is active again.
“All they have to do is provide us with (that) certificate, and they can reopen tomorrow morning,” Neylon said.
Forgive But Don't Forget
Historically, the hot springs in Hot Springs State Park lease the land and water rights from Wyoming State Park. Star Plunge, however, is operating on a management agreement that can be reviewed year to year.
While Wyoming State Parks wants Star Plunge to reopen as soon as possible, this incident won’t be forgotten the next time everyone sits down for another agreement, Neylon said.
“It’s absolutely something that we’re going to discuss moving forward,” he said.
Andrew Rossi can be reached at: Arossi@CowboyStateDaily.com
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