Salt Lake man refurbishes a hot springs to make it a retreat center

Jordan Manzel and Jennifer Hamilton show the newly refurbished areas at Maple Hot Springs on Friday.

THATCHER – Maple Grove Hot Springs got what it needed when Jordan Menzel came along and discovered the dilapidated hot springs in the fall of 2018.  He had the vision to turn the area along the Bear River near Thatcher into something special.

Maple Grove Hot Springs has three soaking pools along the Bear River that have been cleaned and cared for after five people bought the dilapidated property and cleaned it up.

He added “Retreat Center” to the Maple Grove Hot Springs’ original name.

The University of Utah sociology graduate, who also earned a Master’s Degree in Economics at Georgetown University, recruited volunteers and began the transformation.

“I worked for the international organization Choice Humanitarian for 12 years,” he said. “My role was to take about 600 people abroad so they could see where their money was going.”

Jordan Manzel stands near the hot springs he and his group have worked hard to get ready for people to visit. Maple Hot Springs is about 30 minutes north of Preston just off of Highway 36.

Choice Humanitarian is an organization that partners with corporations to help Latin American countries.

It was Menzel’s role to help build water systems, schools, medical clinics and other needs to improve the lives of people living in Latin American countries. He still facilitates trips for the organization.

“Working at Choice Humanitarian was my introduction to helping people, but doing it with a purpose,” he said. “That role in the industry gave me the experience to take on a project like Maple Hot Springs.”

He found five other people who wanted to be involved in turning the hot springs around.

I felt a connection to the area as soon as I found it,” Manzel said. “I want people who come here to feel what I felt.”

He hopes others will feel what a natural experience can do for them.

Cleaning up the 45-acre riverfront property, along the scenic Bear River at the north end of Oneida Narrows Reservoir, was first on his agenda. But guest facilities were also necessary.

One of the refurbished yurts available at Maple Grove Hot Springs Friday is ready for visitors.

“We renovated two yurts and six furnished canvas tents, a cabin and a retreat center,” Erin Sanders, a social media intern, said.

Manzel is the general manger and there are generally other team members on site.

“We’re a small group of conservationists, healers, explorers, artists, and builders dedicated to honoring this pristine landscape,” he said. “We believe personal wellness requires community support, that wildland teaches powerful lessons, and that human growth is rooted in new experiences.”

They just finished the boutique event and retreat center for hosting seminars, weddings and groups. The whole facility could be used for educational programming.

Tents, yurts and this cabin all have portable solar powered lanterns for helping people when it gets dark.

The people at Maple Hot Springs and Retreat Center are committed to giving folks an off-grid, net zero footprint experience.

“We wanted to recruit organizations to use us for retreats,” Manzel said. “I gambled and had people come visit before we were finished fixing the place up.”

It worked. He has three organizations from Salt Lake that booked retreats this year.

Last week, they hosted a yoga retreat for 25 people from Salt Lake to practice yoga in a natural setting.

Jennifer Hamilton the Maple Hot Springs community manager restocks towles in the tents for prospective tenants.

Weekends are filling up and people are excited to see the transformation.

“We have a team of one to three hosts that work on site constantly,” Manzel said. “During our renovation, we had over 200 volunteers who have played a role at every stage of the redevelopment.”

“The facility has been steadily booked since we opened in July, for which we are grateful,” he added.

“Our goal is to make Maple Grove a self-sustainable property,” he said. “We are dedicated to preserve it.”

People interested in staying there should go to maplehotsprings.com

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