Hot springs owner to address nudity, drugs, other issues

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 4:31 PM

MONTEZUMA, N.M. – The healing, mineral-charged hot springs northwest of Las Vegas, New Mexico, have become a site for nudity, drug use and other problems, and the owner of the hot baths wants to change that situation.

The United World College-USA, which owns the hot baths, will host an open meeting Wednesday on campus to discuss the management of the hot springs, the Las Vegas Optic reported .

“Over the years, there’s been nudity, guys flashing themselves at young ladies and people having sex in the hot baths,” said Paul Archuleta, the head of security for the United World College-USA.

The hot springs have also seen prohibited alcohol consumption, theft and even deaths.

United World College has owned the pools since industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer purchased the property and Montezuma Castle for an international high school, which opened in 1982.

The college allows free public access to the springs and maintains them.

The hot springs are open every day from 5 a.m. to midnight and patrolled by United World College security. Security officials say they find people bathing after midnight almost nightly.

“People try to sneak to the hot baths at 3 or 4 in the morning,” Archuleta said. “Nine out of 10 times, we are dealing with people who are under the influence of alcohol or some drug.”

United World College officers do not carry guns and, at times, have to call New Mexico State Police.

Closing the hot springs isn’t an option, Archuleta said.

“That would cause a huge, huge division between the school and the community,” he said. “Maybe we can look into contracting the hot baths to an independent entity that would monitor it and charge a small fee for its use.”

Archuleta’s other recommendations include posting “no overnight” parking signs, fencing in the hot springs and locking them after hours, and installing outhouses.