ADOT dismantling, fencing off site of popular ‘Little Jamaica’

BEAVER DAM  Once considered a hidden gem by visitors and locals alike, a man-made pool fed by a diverted spring on a hillside just above the Virgin River is now being dismantled.

How Little Jamaica looked before the Arizona Department of Transportation started to dismantle the site near the end of this summer, Beaver Dam, Ariz., date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Beau Bracks, St. George News

Until the end of this summer, the spot known as “Little Jamaica” in Beaver Dam, Arizona, drew visitors from St. George to Las Vegas and places in between and beyond. A popular spot for a day trip for a family or individuals, visitors were able to sit in the pool while the diverted spring created a waterfall that cascaded down the rock face and into the pool before spilling down into the Virgin River just below.

That’s the oasis Las Vegas resident Beau Bracks fondly remembers from visiting Little Jamaica multiple times each summer. But what he and a friend found there Friday was different vision.

“We’d play in the water, play in the waterfall, sit in the cave underneath the waterfall, and it’s completely gone now,” Bracks said. “I’m kind of devastated. … It’s gone. I’m kind of in shock. I don’t know what to say.”

The spring that created the waterfall and fed the pool has been rerouted to run along the hillside, and while the pool remains, it won’t for much longer.

Drone footage from the YouTube channel upRising shows what Little Jamaica looked like before the spring was rerouted.

 

So what’s happened?

The Arizona Department of Transportation.

“In the interest of public health and safety and to address the maintenance burden and increased liability it creates for ADOT, we are removing the manmade pool nicknamed ‘Little Jamaica’ within the I-15 right of way,” Ryan Harding, an ADOT representative, said in an email to St. George News.

The Interstate 15 bridge as seen from Little Jamaica. Future work on the bridge, as well as ongoing safety concerns, have prompted the Arizona Department of Transportation to dismantle the site, Beaver Dam, Ariz., Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Little Jamaica sits beneath a bridge that is a part of the Arizona stretch of Interstate 15, and that puts it on ADOT property.

The agency has begun prepping the area for the reconstruction work it will be doing on the bridge in fiscal year 2020. This work is a continuation of reconstructive work done on other bridges in the Virgin River Gorge in recent years.

Read more: A huge relief: Virgin River Gorge bridge work complete, officials say

In a public meeting ADOT held, Harding said some of those in attendance were happy to hear that Little Jamaica would be dismantled due to issues that have plagued the site.

“As was noted during public involvement for the bridge-replacement project, this site frequently has trash, human waste and other types of waste and lacks water-quality monitoring,” Harding said. “Those trespassing on ADOT property to access the spring and pool risk steep slopes to reach it.”

The pool, which was created by sandbags what were fixed together with concrete, will be removed. A fence will be placed around the site to prevent future diversion of the spring, Harding said.

The man-made pool at Little Jamaica, a popular site to visit, is being dismantled by the Arizona Department of Transportation in preparation for work on the bridge above, Beaver Dam, Ariz., Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

When Sgt. John Bottoms, of the Arizona Department of Safety, spoke about his own experience with Little Jamaica, his descriptions weren’t the most flattering.

“The times I’ve been there to assist with (law enforcement) calls, the place was a cesspool,” Bottoms said. “There was always debris and trash around there, and a lot of used condoms.”

More than once, members of the Arizona DPS were involved in cleaning up the area, which Bottoms also referred to as a site of “over-indulgence” where crimes occurred.

Still, Bottoms noted how popular the site was when it was actually maintained.

“I think there are a lot of people who are going to miss it,” he said.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • KR567 November 14, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    Your government tax dollars at work…!

  • Carpe Diem November 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Oh, a nice spot to visit in nature!

    LET’S KILL IT.

  • Fester November 15, 2018 at 4:07 am

    FTA – “As was noted during public involvement for the bridge-replacement project, this site frequently has trash, human waste and other types of waste and lacks water-quality monitoring,” Harding said. “Those trespassing on ADOT property to access the spring and pool risk steep slopes to reach it.”

    Who “owns” ADOT property? The King?

    Remember children, there’s nothing you may do that Mama Gubmint cannot correct and instruct you to do better. Mama Gubmint is always looking out for her children. For a fee. Here they could not figure out how to collect a fee, so away it goes.

  • iceplant November 15, 2018 at 8:47 am

    What a shame. I didn’t know about this place but if you look at the photo on Google Earth, it is packed with people who look they’re enjoying themselves and having fun.
    CAN’T LET PEOPLE HAVE FUN FOR FREE!!! SHUT IT DOWN!!!!

  • General Seamstress November 15, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    the town should sue you for taking some of their revenue.. people bought services and goods that came to visit there.. at 1 family a day even is probably 30.00 to the community.. that adds up.. that was taxes too.. i have talked to many people in the vegas area that visit there.. but will less likely do so now b/c you dismantled something so neat. it is so strange to me that this was prime opportunity in the desert to draw people in right off of 15 and you destroy it? how loco is THAT! then again, you missed the opportunity to ask the community for a coalition to keep it cleaned up every month and you missed an opportunity to garner the communities support to fundraise and pay insurance for the spot.. you could have even built a park and charged a small parking fee.. your area needs to develop more b/c it is so close to the gorge and people need services. arizona needs service.. who is in charge there? cray cray.

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