June 3, 2012 in Idaho, Region

Dugout Dick’s caves filled in for safety

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Dugout Dick’s caves on the Salmon River in 2002.
(Full-size photo)

IDAHO FALLS – The caves excavated above the Salmon River in central Idaho by a well-known recluse who lived in them for more than six decades have been filled in with dirt and lava rock.

The Bureau of Land Management says workers filled about a dozen caves that were the home of Richard “Dugout Dick” Zimmerman shortly after his April 2010 death.

The U.S. Department of Interior had an agreement with Zimmerman allowing him to live on public land, an agency spokesman said.

She says the land reverted to BLM control after his death and the caves posed a safety hazard.

Zimmerman in 1947 built a makeshift home on the side of a hill, then spent the rest of his life building one cave dwelling after another.

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