BLM 'Reclaims' Dugout Dick's Salmon River Caves


The Bureau of Land Management filled in the legendary caves of Idaho's iconic Dugout Dick, shortly after his April 2010 death at the age of 94.

The Idaho Falls Post Register reports that the U.S. Department of Interior had an agreement with Richard Zimmerman that allowed him to live on public lands above the Salmon River in central Idaho. Zimmerman lived in the caves for more than six decades, but the land reverted to BLM control after his death.

"We reclaimed the caves," BLM spokesperson Elizabeth Townley told the Post Register. "It was a huge undertaking. They were extremely unsafe."

After Zimmerman's personal belongings—including bicycles and spoiled food in jars and jugs—were removed, the caves were filled in with dirt and lava rock.

Some of the caves were 60 feet deep. Dugout Dick would charge visitors $2 a night to stay in one of the caves. Some stayed for months at a $25 monthly rate.