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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Awesome Clean Up Party!!!!


What else can I say? You guys and gals were just absolutely awesome in your infectious enthusiasm and love of Scenic Hot Springs. What took 15 years to build, 2 days for the county deputies to tear down and leave a scar on the mountainside . . . what took months for silent volunteers working under threat of trespass arrest to clean up only to sit as an ugly reminder of disrespect . . . 32 brave and loving souls cleaned up in one day of really hard and dirty work. Thousands of pounds of rotting wood, wire, concrete, PVC pipes and garbage has been removed from the bench and either burned or sorted for eventual and proper disposal. I didn't think it could be done . . . not in one or even a couple of clean up parties. You proved me wrong. The lessening of stress in Mike is palpital . . . this is a major obstacle out of the way; well on it's way to resolving the original code enforcement action of 2001.

One of the rustic latrines being burned is kind of a symbol to the clean up of Scenic and a new rebirth arriving.

We met at the gate at 9:30 in the morning on a drizzly Saturday morning . . . Robert (The Naked Gourmet) was already there with coffee and good cheer for our blurry-eyed yawns. Everyone brought tools: hammers, shovels, claws and a good assortment of esoteric items . . . like a gasoline-powered saw that looked absolutely mean. Our agenda was going to be to tackle all that stored construction material on the bench above the springs and to remove the rotting fascia board and 4x4 piers remaining from the demolition debacle of Oct 2001.

A little bit of shameful history is needed here and I repeat it without speaking officially. After the raid and eviction of the soakers in 2001 by the King County Sheriff's deputies a little-known act of disrespect took place on that hillside when the county destroyed everything they could of the original pools and decking. It wasn't a carefully-thought out demolition . . . it turned out to be what many have called, an act of spite. It was wanton destruction and the deputies left the mess as it fell on the hillside . . . a blight. Over the following months former spring lovers snuck up onto the property and piece by piece did what they could to clean up the ugly mess left by the county. They placed that material on the bench above the springs as best they could . . . unable to do much more for the springs they cherished. There this material has sat for five years. Saturday we started the effort to finally get rid of what the county started. They destroyed the site . . . we have made a huge dent to clean it up!





The destruction committed in 2001 after the raid on Scenic.



Bear was to lead the group to sort through that material that had been sitting for five years and make the call . . . 'good' for saving, 'garbage' for the growing rubbish heap . . . or 'burn it' for the insatiable bonfire being stoked by the resident pyromaniac, Sushi Bob. There, the majority of volunteers formed a human chain that passed sometimes very heavy sections of wood, wire, pipes, buckets, concrete slabs, and assorted garbage to the sorting area above the springs. It was dirty and hard grunt work . . . and it was a joy to watch everybody enthusiastically pitching in without a grumble.

The sole remaining pool at Scenic is the Monster Tub. It survived the best attempts by hyperactive deputies with chainsaws and sledghammers in 2001 . . . and has survived the test of time on the mountainside implacable and stubborn as the holder of the hot springs waters to this day. It's thick concrete shell is as much a part of the mountain as is the bedrock to which it is firmly anchored. But weathered wooden posts and sills had to go. Dale had this formidable task. Clean up the pool and salvage as much of the shell as the basis of the new springs.

We had to trench into the mountainside around the tub to finally put a measure of erosion control in place . . . and then we had to tease and brute-force out the concrete-anchored posts and jutting sections of rebar. That's where the gas-powered saw came in and I firmly believe Dale relished holding that mean-looking instrument in his hands.

Erosion control around the Monster Tub


Yours truly, had the misfortune of standing on the edge of the pool prying on a recalcitrant section of slippery 4x4 when it gave. Clothed and all . . . I got the first soak of the day.

By 4:30 we had cleaned off the bench area and had everything sorted. Two bonfires going good and Robert finally getting around to feeding us all. Suddenly, half of us were in the pool and grabbing that much needed soak.



If the pool wasn't dirty before from all the dirt we couldn't avoid falling in . . . it was after a couple of dozen soakers crammed in and let the soothing waters wash away the aches. Scenic is magical.

Much needs yet to be done and I hope our tireless volunteers will join us again as we improve the trails, manage to get an ATV up there to remove the trash . . . and then start the reconstruction of legal soaking pools.

Thank you so much to the volunteers who made this clean up so highly successful. You are indeed awesome and wonderful people!

Rick, echoing the sentiments of Mike (who is very grateful) as well as Bear and Dale.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:39 AM

    Rick,

    Congratulations to you, Mike, and everyone else on a job well done!

    I really appreciate the work you've done. I hope one day to visit Scenic again and see the results first hand.

    Also, thanks so much for the mention in your blog of the Northwest Forest Conservancy Austin/Bagby cleanup event. It went very well this year considering the change in scope from 3.5 miles of area to clean up to 15 miles.

    Regards,

    Ron
    ron (at) nwforests (dot) org

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  2. Thank you, Ron

    I wish I could have made the Austin/Bagby event. Are you going to post an event report in NWHotSprings? I'd love to read how everything worked out.

    Rick

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