I've been just a casual user of Scenic over the past few years, having made the trek perhaps a dozen times since I first learned of it. I always wanted to become involved in the community so I could give back, but I could never find contact information. So hey, I'm glad to have found this tribe.
Anyway, I understand that there's a no camping rule there now. I respect that, but I am curious why. I've never camped there, but there's a number of beautiful spots and have longed to camp overnight there.
So, what is the rationale?
The rationale behind the no camping rule is two-fold.
1. At the moment the owner lacks sufficient control over what is happening on his property . . . especially after nightfall. The terrain is difficult and several accidents have already happened to people unprepared for an overnight stay up at the springs. The owner has been remarkable easy about looking the other way when soakers visit during daylight hours but the fact is, it is still posted private property for a variety of reasons . . . liability, King County Sheriff's Department and sensitive negotiations to legally reopen the springs to the public. Additionally, cars parked overnight at the gate continue to be vandalized on a regular basis. The authorities have laid down a few unofficial rules and 'no camping' is one of them.
2. The desirous camping spots up there lie directly over the aquifer feeding the springs and are highly sensitive to contamination . . . you take a dump up above the main spring or on the flat area off to the side and the fecal coliform bacteria will show up in the spring waters eventually. Those areas have to be controled and put off-limits.
Additionally, Mike informs me that the 40 acres of land encompassing Scenic Hot Springs is in an area classed as a 'Fire Restricted' area by the Skykomish Fire District. The 40 acres is surrounded by, and contiguous with the Alpine Wilderness Area on the south and National Forest Lands on the sides where fires of any sort are not permitted except by special, one time permits. The Forest Service is not going to allow any activities at Scenic that jeopardize or present a fire risk to the adjacent forest and wilderness lands. Camping is one of those activities.
Rick (aka banged_up_shins)