BANA Annual Meeting in Glenwood Springs
Balneology Association of North America (BANA) convened in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for its third annual business meeting. The nonprofit organization Board Members gathered with local community leaders, including BANA member, Kjell Mitchell, CEO of Glenwood Hot Springs. The Lodge at Glenwood Hot Springs hosted the group with a reception and introduction to The Waters.
The town, located in Glenwood Canyon and the Roaring Fork Valley, is known for its thermal mineral springs. Glenwood Hot Springs…the largest geothermal mineral waters pool in North America and an ancient sacred healing site with bathing pools and vapor caves is used continuously by humanity from a time before written history.
It was the perfect location to explore one of the most pristine examples of good stewardship and use of mineral waters as a natural resource. The town has developed around the springs, but, always with conscientious planning, historic preservation, and conservation in mind.
“The exchange of ideas in a place like Glenwood Springs is very important,” says Janet Abbott, newly elected president.
Facilitating the business meeting was Chris Devlin, Board Chair for BANA since 2014, who takes his organizational development and leadership skills into BANA’s vision for the future. Devlin addressed the organization’s three-tiered approach to promoting BANA; health, stewardship, and wellness tourism.
Devlin sees BANA’s educational focus as most important“…..not only in recognizing the benefits of bathing in mineral springs, but, also, in providing a source and network that can cross all lines of balneological interest and study”.
As to specific goals, Devlin spoke on the “map project,” the first of its’ kind. Through the map project, BANA hopes to educate those who are interested to explore this century’s options for optimum health and maximum well-being.
We are discussing events for the more immediate future,” says Board Member, Dr. Michelle Solloway. BANA is planning to facilitate regional educational and experiential meetings. “Balneology is for anyone and everyone interested in their own health and well-being.”
A final item on the agenda was to nominate and vote on a prospective Board Member, David Erlich, Director of The Spa of the Rockies (located in Glenwood’s original bathhouse). “To live and work in a health conscious environment, “…and to have the mineral waters available,” David says, “is part of the reason I accepted the position.”
The following board member presentations touched on ‘Inspiration for BANA Vision next 3-5 years’ and a synthesis of common and divergent themes.
Dr. Jonathan Paul De Vierville, Board Vice President, gave a presentation of Glenwood Hot Springs History and Context. He began his presentation by noting that the group convened in one of the most pristine examples of good stewardship in the use and sharing of The Waters. “Glenwood Springs is a great example of a large, hot, single source mineral spring, with a network of vapor caves.” He reflected upon the area’s first peoples……the nomadic tribes that trekked across the land for thousands of years.
Although times are different from the earlier Taking-the-Waters movement of the 18th and 19th centuries, De Vierville sees “…..new research, information, knowledge and understanding with mineral springs and balneology.”
Janet Abbott, Board President, presented a visioning overview and opened strategic planning discussion. She explained that as an advocate, “……bathing in mineral waters for health and wellness is one of our initiatives.
“The general public needs to be educated,” Abbott added, “The positive health effects the body receives through an experience of warm mineral water chemistry for therapy and healing is what BANA is all about.”
Board Member, Marcus Coplin, who represents North America in the nonprofit organization, International Scientific Medical Hydrology (ISMH), spoke at the International Scientific Meeting of Balneology, Medical Hydrology and Climatolgy, held in conjunction with the 39th ISMH World Congress in Kyoto, Japan in May 2014. Dr. Coplin recapped his presentation, Responses of the Human Body to Stimuli from Nature, before the BANA Board. “Everything from listening to the surf roll in and roll out to a soak in warm mineral waters “…..has an affect on the body’s chemistry,” Dr. Coplin says.
He is interested in development of site specific information regarding the nine geological regions of North America. “…… so people can make a more informed decision when choosing a specific type of mineral water. For example, a highly sulfurous spring is excellent for various skin conditions.”
Deborah Smith, Board Treasurer, spoke to the assembled group and presented a plan to further BANA’s goals. She asserts that by “…..broadening BANA’s outreach, through many different communication platforms, societal awareness will motivate change in the health care industry and in people’s lives.”
“We intend to plan,” says Smith, “an outline that supports responsible development and operation of mineral springs sites and facilities.”
Another organizational focus, Smith says, is Wellness Tourism. “BANA hopes to support those involved in local or regional economic development and/or commerce, adding that people are seeking out “wellness destinations.”
The group’s purpose for their Colorado weekend was BANA and the business at hand for the new year, however, time was made to enjoy Glenwood Springs and its surroundings. Board members spent time soaking in Glenwood’s mineral water pools. They enjoyed the vapor caves at Yampah Caves and Spa, and concluded their Annual Meeting at Avalanche Ranch, located in nearby Crystal River Valley.
We thank and acknowledge Diane Elliott, journalist and writer about hot spring sites for this narrative on BANA: Annual Conference at Glenwood Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.