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How we discovered a pool buried under the St. Anthony Sand Dunes

As Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, the St. Anthony Sand Dunes are bracing for the most people the community has ever seen, according to the Sand Hills Resort’s Ernie Belair.

This means the number of ATV’s and four-wheelers will be revving-up en masse.

But the BLM’s Ben Cisna said this could be problematic if people aren’t staying extra vigilant when hitting the sand for a quick ride.

“Every season, the sand dunes are different because they change so quickly,” Cisna pointed-out.

He attributes the biggest reason for accidents to low visibility.

“People should try to avoid riding during times the sun is the strongest. You could be driving about 50 mph and not even feel like you’re moving because you can’t see anything coming past you. It’s almost like being snow-blind. For example, it could look like you’re coming up a dune, but there might actually be a drop-off in-between you can’t see because there’s a taller dune behind it. But it all just blends together and before you know it, you’re flying through the air.”

This, combined with the rapidly-shifting sand and the 100-year washout means riders need to be extra cautious.

“We just got a 100 year rain event and the ground was still frozen so the water had nowhere to go as it was melting snow at the same time and it just ripped through here,” Cisna explained. “In fact, I’ve spoken to a few farmers around here who have never seen anything like this.”

But with the shifting sand and that rare natural phenomenon, Cisna took us out to look at the damage that was quickly covered-up within days of the washout since the sand was moving so rapidly.

Which got us wondering – what else could these massive sand piles cover-up, and what pieces of Idaho’s history could be buried beneath the sand dunes?

David Crapo, who now runs the resort with Belair, could attest to the strangest phenomenon only few people were around to see for themselves – the sand dunes swallowed-up a swimming pool called Fullmer’s Beach.

“Oh yeah, I definitely remember taking swimming lessons here,” Crapo recalled. “I definitely remember the ice cream cones! After swimming lessons, we would all be tugging at our mothers to buy us an ice cream cone.”

But, here’s the thing – not a single photo of the swimming pool exists in any publication or library.

Several members of the St. Anthony community reached-out to help dig-up whatever they could from old family albums, and sure enough – there really was a pool.

Susan Lott was able to not only find photos from her mother and aunt’s photo albums, but she was also able to confirm the beach opened on July 4, 1955.

Then, sometime in the early 1960s, Crapo said the pool was abandoned.

Soon after, the sand completely engulfed the 90-by-25 square foot pool – for good.

“I think they just left it there and covered it up with dirt, so I’m not sure how deep it would be right now but I bet it’s down quite a ways,” Crapo added.

But that’s not the only piece of history lurking under the dunes.

Belair said he’s heard myths of cars and tractors also buried somewhere under the dunes.

“There are full-sized trees, about 16-to-18 feet tall, that are completely buried in the sand,” Belair said. “Sometimes, the wind will blow enough in the opposite direction so we’ll actually be able to see the top of a tree.”

In fact, he said the sand was able to uncover an old snowmobile that had been buried-over years ago.

But despite these pieces of history being buried deep underneath the sand dunes, the memories are resurfacing; proving they can’t really be lost if the stories live on.

(Photo courtesy: Susan Lott)

(Photo courtesy: Susan Lott)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

(Photo Courtesy: Wendell Bloom via Joseph Murray)

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