After hiking from California to Washington State, William Goldmyer (1843-1924) became the first settler of what is now the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle in 1868. What is known as Goldmyer Hot Springs today was first developed by William as Crystal Hot Springs Resort in the early 1900's.
William privatized the property as a patented mining claim (for hot water) and ran a lodge in the early 1910's for miners and loggers in the valley. Access at the time was by primitive road, trail or railroad, which followed the Middle Fork Road and ended about a mile west of the property. There are records of a Model T bus outfitted with railroad wheels making the trip from Seattle in less time than it takes today!
The Morrow Family
In the 1920's, the property was sold by the Goldmyers, was briefly held by the predecessor of Burlington Northern Railroad, and was purchased by the Morrow Family in the late 1920's. Bill Morrow had visions of building a grand resort on the property with a large hotel, bath houses, large swimming pool, and tennis courts.
"Big Bill" designed and built a basic lodge, rustic bath houses, bridges, a hydro electric power system, a sawmill, and plumbing systems for drinking and bathing water. Bill expanded the lodge by building tent platform accommodations for his far ranging guests.
Work came to a halt with the arrival of World War II. Logging in the Middle Fork Valley stopped at Burnt Boot Creek as steel resources were moved away from railroads to the war effort. All hands went to work on the war efforts and the dream of the resort at Goldmyer were put aside for more serious concerns.
Flooding and Overuse
In January of 1960 extreme flooding occurred in the middle fork valley, causing huge amounts of damage to the areas man made infrastructure. Water sweeping down Burntboot Creek destroyed much of Bill Morrow's efforts including bath houses, footbridges, and the hydro electric power system.
In the early 1970's Goldmyer Hot Springs was rediscovered after an extensive article in Seattle counter culture newspaper The Helix described it as a great place to go and party. Although the Morrow family retained ownership of the property, unrestrained public access led to vandalism and destruction by thousands of careless visitors.
Northwest Wilderness Programs
"Big Bill's" sister Vieda Morrow began exploring ways to preserve and protect the hot springs she fell in love with at an early age. Veida, John, and Josephine Morrow formed the nonprofit Northwest Wilderness Programs in 1976 in response to the abuse the springs had suffered during the 1960's and 1970's. The Morrow family donated the land to NWWP, which continues to manage the property today.
Northwest Wilderness Programs established minimum impact policies to allow the forest to begin the long process of healing itself. These policies continue to protect this treasure of the wilderness for the use of generations to come.
Extensive work by dedicated volunteers resurrected the Goldmyer preserve from the abuses of unrestricted access. Projects included the removal of large amounts of garbage, extensive trail reconstruction, erosion control, and re-vegetation. Over 100 pounds of broken glass were removed from the springs area alone during clean up and reconstruction efforts.
A cabin was built by volunteers in the early 1980s to allow for full time resident caretakers to watch over the springs. In June 2007, the U.S. Forest Service installed a locked gate at the Dingford Creek trailhead, blocking the road to Goldmyer and increasing the hiking distance to 4.5 miles. A bridge across the Middle Fork River at the Goldmyer access point was completed at this same time, eliminating the need for visitors to ford the river.
Over the years Veida shared her vision of preservation, encouraging and supporting volunteers who shared her love of Goldmyer. Thanks to Veida's forethought, vision and encouragement, Goldmyer is once again a beautiful, clean, safe place for people to come and enjoy the magic of the hot springs and surrounding wilderness.