Scenic Hot Springs is on Private Property and you should always keep that in mind when you go trespassing on the owners’ land. In the memory of the King County Sheriffs’ Office and the code enforcers of DCLU, the overzealous and ‘illegal’ construction of the years leading up to October, 2001 are still fresh on their minds. They do not want a return to those incidents ranging from car vandalism to underaged drinking that became a real thorn in the side of King County. So it is up to us to tread lightly and let the process evolve that might one day bring Scenic Hot Springs back to us, revitalized while acceptable to the county.
The owner has stated time after time his desire to retain the nature, dignity and spirituality of the Springs. His desire is to create a soaking experience that has as little impact on the surroundings as possible . . . Japanese-style rock soaking pools, picnic areas, interpretive trails and a connection back to the origins of these springs in common, modern use with the building of the Great Northern Railway over Stevens’ Pass. That history is very rich and needs to be preserved.
What the owner does not want is the bad karma of the authorities and we must be the stewards to educating visitors. That the springs will go commercial is problematic. A caretaker will probably have to be hired, the pools and grounds will have to be maintained . . . and that means a fee to pay for these services. I believe that is fair and if successful, we can look forward to:
- A safe and secure parking area much closer to the Springs than now
- Professionally-crafted rock-soaking pools created by a man with experience
- Properly-developed pools at the other two lower Springs areas instead of the existing muddy pools
- Changing rooms and ‘legal’ sanitary facilities designed to blend in with the surroundings
- A mixture of ‘clothed’ and, hopefully, ‘clothing-optional’ pools spread out over the three hot spring sources
- Access for the handicapped as well as emergency response crews
- The security of a caretaker on premises to control unwanted activities and make our soaking experiences safe and pleasurable
How we get there . . . how we help the new owner manage the morass of red-tape . . . is contingent on how we behave in the coming months as negotiations, permits and paperwork proceed.
We can help by:
- Not bringing undue attention to the Springs. As winter comes upon us, hordes of soakers will descend on the springs, and certainly the authorities will notice the increased traffic in the area. We can help by parking safely and legally, or by carpooling and taking the attention off the number of vehicles parked on the access road or alongside Highway 2.
- Being prepared for the rigors of the hard hike up to the Springs . . . especially in winter. Don’t go up there unprepared and inadequately dressed . . . and cause an emergency response and animosity from the authorities.
- Don’t affect the site with grandiose plans of your own. They might be interpreted by DCLU as arrogance by the owner and ruin all his efforts.
- Keep the property (and the surrounding Forest Service lands that you have to pass through) clean and as unaffected by your passage as possible. There is no camping allowed on Scenic. Nor are campfires, motor vehicles or pets allowed. Respect that!
Share you ideas with the owner. Be prepared to go to your legislators to support his plans, if you like them . . . or suggest other, workable ideas. The owner listens, which is one of the factors that has made him likable in the community. You can either post your comments and criticisms here, or by emailing to email@example.com. There is also a link in the sidebar to the right to send in comments, suggestions and criticisms. I can assure you the owner will see all correspondence sent through these channels.
If you have the time, you can volunteer to help in cleanup at Scenic by joining one of the work parties organized by Robert (aka The Naked Gourmet) and other Friends of Scenic. Use the same email address as above to express your willingness to help.
Finally, don’t spread the word indiscriminately. Scenic Hot Springs is POSTED – Private Property. There is little we can do to prevent people from walking around the gate and going up to the Springs. They are going to do it, signs or no signs. Nor does the sheriffs department want to get involved with this all over again. So we, as responsible individuals must be prepared to step in and educate, remind and sometimes chastize those who don’t give a damn. Teenaged beer bashes are counterproductive.
Rick (aka Banged_up_shins@yahoo.com)