History

Pre-Colonial

It is speculated that the hot spring has been flowing for thousands of years, seeping out of cracks in a cliff-side adjacent an alpine creek. The hot water starts as cold surface water, percolates down through the ground, and is heated by the temperature of the Earth’s interior. Hydraulic pressure causes it to flow back up to the surface through cracks in the bedrock. The heat of the water causes it to pick up minerals from the rocks it passes by.

While the springs’ pre-colonial history has been lost, conversations with members of the Snoqualmie tribe in the early 1990’s indicate Native Americans knew of the hot spring for many generations past. Oral history suggests it was most likely visited only occasionally by men on spiritual journeys. The area would have been hard to reach and difficult to find. One can only imagine it has been a sacred and special place to all who have visited its source.

William Goldmyer

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 mineral 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 Trail 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 Goldmyer, briefly held by the Northern Pacific Rail Road (predecessor of Burlington Northern Railroad), and was then placed in the care of the Morrow Family in 1928. Bill Morrow (1889-1962) had visions of building a grand resort on the property with a large hotel, bath houses, large swimming pool, and tennis courts.

In addition to maintaining Goldmyer's lodge, "Big Bill" designed and built rustic bath houses, bridges, a hydro electric power system, 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 (1939-1945). 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 support the war and dreams of a resort at Goldmyer were put on hold. Not many folks visited the springs at this time as it was slowly forgotten by all but a few.

Flooding and Overuse

In January of 1960 extreme flooding occurred in the middle fork valley, causing huge amounts of damage to the area's man made infrastructure. Water sweeping down Burnt Boot Creek destroyed much of Bill Morrow's efforts including bath houses, footbridges, and the hydro electric power system.

Goldmyer was rediscovered after a 1966 Seattle Times photo article on the springs captured the attention of the Puget Sound region. In 1970 an extensive article in Seattle counter culture newspaper The Helix described it as a great place to gather and party. Although the Morrow family retained ownership of the property, unrestrained public access led to vandalism and destruction by thousands of careless visitors. Overuse of the property ultimately led to Goldmyer's original lodge being burned to the ground by squatters in 1972, forcing the Morrow's to rethink their relationship with the land.

Northwest Wilderness Programs

"Big Bill's" sister Veida Morrow (1902-1996) 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 (NWWP) 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 massive amounts of garbage, extensive trail reconstruction, erosion control, pool reconstruction, and re-vegetation. Over 100 pounds of broken glass were removed from the springs area alone during clean up and reconstruction.

The current 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 enjoy the magic of the hot springs and surrounding old growth forest.