The Washington State Parks Commission today reopened Flaming Geyser State Park to vehicular traffic. Most of the park was closed to vehicules in January due to electrical failure and associated public safety concerns. The portions of the electrical system that were of major concern have been turned off.
The park was to reopen to both vehicle and foot traffic. The park can accommodate about 300 vehicles. Parking rules will be enforced, so visitors must park in authorized areas only, said a State Parks news release.
Park visitors will be allowed to picnic near the Green River and have access to the river from the park. Picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One restroom that is accessible to people with disabilities will be open. Other standard restrooms in the park will remain closed, but portable toilets will be placed throughout the park. There is no water available in the park, and the lodge will remain closed.
The park will undergo significant construction and upgrades on electrical, water, sewer, roads, parking and buildings as soon as environmental permits are obtained. Plans had already been under way and the Legislature had included $3.47 million in the State Parks’ 2009-11 capital budget to upgrade the park and create a reliable infrastructure there, according to the release. Repairs are expected to take at least two years to complete.
Flaming Geyser State Park is within the 2,000-acre Green River Gorge Conservation Area in King County, 2.5 miles south of Black Diamond off state Route 169. The area, which also includes Nolte and Kanaskat-Palmer state parks, historically was mined for coal, clay and cinnabar. Flaming Geyser was named from the seepage of methane gas from an old test core bored into underlying coal seams. The seepage once produced a significant flame but now only burns about six inches high. The park offers picnicking, hiking, biking, volleyball, horseshoes, fishing, river floating and kayaking, horseback riding and other activities. A field at Flaming Geyser is set aside for radio-controlled model aircraft flying.