Wind River Hot Springs

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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windmtnpete
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Wind River Hot Springs

Post by windmtnpete » May 23rd, 2015, 9:45 am

On Sunday May 17, 2015 at Shipherd Falls, Carson, Washington around noon I went to enjoy the hot springs located on public land in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. I always park legally on the Carson side in a neighborhood and take legal access and then sometimes take the footbridge across the Wind River. Frequently crossed by many people, it's a very safe footbridge, although the signs claim there is a "hazard" and therefore there is "No Trespassing". Certainly, if there was truly a threat to public safety on this bridge it could easily be gated off entirely. From what I heard from an official with the Washington Fish & Game (the agency that enforces this law), the only reason they enforced the law in the past was because the shed across the river had been vandalized. Also, people trespass on the dam which creates a safety hazard. They then fixed the shed and replaced the window with bricks, so it could no longer be vandalized. There was now no reason to enforce this law unless people use the bridge to access the dam. Yes, I have crossed this bridge to get to these public hot springs hundreds of times the past 12 years without incident.... as do many, many other people.

Yes, I feel a very strong connection to this public land and clean up after the messes that other people make. There was a time last summer when there was a big party here and someone trashed the place and scribbled graffiti all over the rocks and trees. It made me very angry and I went around and covered up all the grafiti with blending colors of paint so that this mess was not visable. Then I picked up all the bottles and cans, all the trash that had been thrown around. In my mind, this is a sanctuary, a place of healing. It represents all the goodness and positive energy that life has to offer. I am a steward in this beautiful place, a caretaker of the hot springs.
On this particular day I spent a good 2 hours soaking in the hot springs as I spoke with another local man who had taken the same route crossing the bridge to get there. This was someone who grew up in the area and had come here as a child had lots of great memories to share. We were not troublemakers and we both agreed that there was a problem with people trashing the place. Also trouble with poison oak and ticks. But it's a place that renews the mind, body, and spirit, it's a place to escape the insanity of the world.... very much worth the trouble to get here.

Lots of activity on this particular day along this stretch of the Wind River. We both noticed the fisherman who was fishing from the dam. This was strickly forbidden by law. I noticed a large group of kayakers accessing the dam and checking out the waterfalls. This was also in violation of the law, there is no trespassing allowed on the dam. I noticed that some of those kayakers looked unfamiliar with this area and a bit nervous about going down the falls. There has been some tragic deaths here and I felt compelled to oversee this operation and make sure everyone was safe. I proceeded to cross at the footbridge to get back even though I had planned on swimming back. The view the bridge offered helped me see things that nobody in that group of kayakers could see. I stayed there on the footbridge until every last kayaker made it safely down the falls. Then I proceeded to cross.

Arriving on the Carson side of the footbridge, I was suddenly confronted with an officer of the law wearing a badge. He was a trooper from Washington State Fish & Game, he looked at me with a sense of hostility in his eyes. Right away he started intarogating me with questions... "who are you" and demanded some identification. Since I had nothing to show who I was, he became enraged and asked me where I had parked. He told me he had all of the information on all the cars that were parked in the area, that he had run the license plates through his computer. So he already knew who I was. Also, he had been watching me for quite some time, even before I had decided to leave the hot springs. He was probably there for more than an hour and described in detail the other mans tatoos, so he had been looking very closely at both of us. I attempted to ask some questions and then he said "shut up". I replied "excuse me?" Again, he said "shut up". Then he continued harassing me with a long rant about the signs saying "hazardous area" and "no trepassing" and how he was the only one to enforce the law over such a large area. He obviously was very, very stressed.
I kept very quiet until it was time to speak. Fact is, I have absolutely nothiong to hide, no criminal history and not even a trafiic citation the last 10 years. My behavior is always very respectful and honest. Obviously, this man with a badge was testing my ability to think rationally without reacting to his senseless, crazy emotional state of mind. I simply asked him if he was going to enforce the law equally to everyone, or was I the only one? It would have been a great case in court and I looked forward to the opportunity to share my story. I then explained honestly the only reason I had crossed the bridge was for the safety of those kayakers. His attitude then changed, his game was up, and he backed off. He said that he was only there to give me a warning, but that he had the power to give me a fine or take me into custody if I became violent.
I simply replied "thank you sir..... good day".

In conclusion, this was an experience that has changed my view of law enforcement in America. The question remains, why did the trooper focus all of his attention and resources on me instead of all those other people who clearly violated the law before I even arrived? Selective enforcement? I used to think that law enforcment was here to take care of the troublemakers... to put the troublemakers away. Now I'm realizing that law enforcement is only there to try and create troublemakers, so they themselves become the troublemakers. It will be a good story to ponder as I soak with other people in those hot springs, a story I will share with people around the world. It's very sad what has become of this place we call home. No, I will not be crossing that bridge and will be swimming the river instead, however I believe this is an issue that needs to be addressed by knowledgable people. Is it legal to prevent the public from accessing public land on a footbridge that is perfectly safe? Since this land has been aquired by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, does that change any rules? Do we the people have a right to access the land and bridge that belongs to us on public land?
“Not all who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

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texasbb
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by texasbb » May 23rd, 2015, 10:16 am

windmtnpete wrote: In conclusion, this was an experience that has changed my view of law enforcement in America.
You'd judge every LEO in America on the actions of one?

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Koda
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by Koda » May 23rd, 2015, 10:03 pm

windmtnpete wrote:I then explained honestly the only reason I had crossed the bridge was for the safety of those kayakers. His attitude then changed, his game was up, and he backed off. He said that he was only there to give me a warning, but that he had the power to give me a fine or take me into custody if I became violent.
I simply replied "thank you sir..... good day".

In conclusion, this was an experience that has changed my view of law enforcement in America. The question remains, why did the trooper focus all of his attention and resources on me instead of all those other people who clearly violated the law before I even arrived? Selective enforcement? I used to think that law enforcment was here to take care of the troublemakers... to put the troublemakers away. Now I'm realizing that law enforcement is only there to try and create troublemakers, so they themselves become the troublemakers.
so after being caught in the act of illegally trespassing your mad at the cop for letting you go with just a verbal warning?
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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Koda
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by Koda » May 23rd, 2015, 10:04 pm

windmtnpete wrote:I then explained honestly the only reason I had crossed the bridge was for the safety of those kayakers. His attitude then changed, his game was up, and he backed off. He said that he was only there to give me a warning, but that he had the power to give me a fine or take me into custody if I became violent.
I simply replied "thank you sir..... good day".

In conclusion, this was an experience that has changed my view of law enforcement in America. The question remains, why did the trooper focus all of his attention and resources on me instead of all those other people who clearly violated the law before I even arrived? Selective enforcement? I used to think that law enforcment was here to take care of the troublemakers... to put the troublemakers away. Now I'm realizing that law enforcement is only there to try and create troublemakers, so they themselves become the troublemakers.
so after being caught in the act of illegally trespassing your mad at the cops for letting you go with just a verbal warning?
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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romann
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by romann » May 24th, 2015, 12:04 am

Never been to this hot spring yet, but someone told me there's a way to go along the river (upstream? starting from boat ramp or something?). He used to cross this bridge until they posted the sign, said new way is legal and safe...

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windmtnpete
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by windmtnpete » May 24th, 2015, 6:20 am

romann wrote:Never been to this hot spring yet, but someone told me there's a way to go along the river (upstream? starting from boat ramp or something?). He used to cross this bridge until they posted the sign, said new way is legal and safe...
There's a way of going up from the Home Valley side, however it's been closed for a few years because the property owners were being sued for an accident that happened along that trail. The crazy thing was the accident happened because of some irresponsible person was hiking without the proper footwear. A very sad story here of lawsuits and threats and now gates, fences and posted signs "No Trespassing or else". Fact remains.... this is public land and we the public have a right to access our land. There are laws set up to protect this right.

Is the bridge a safety hazard? No. Is there a good reason to enforce the use of this bridge by the public since it's located on public land? No.

When you travel around the world and see what's going on in other countries, it's amazing how much of our freedom has been taken away here in America because of lawsuits and stupid laws. This is Memorial Day weekend, perhaps it's a good time to reflect on this fact.
“Not all who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

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windmtnpete
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by windmtnpete » May 24th, 2015, 7:45 am

Koda wrote:
windmtnpete wrote:I then explained honestly the only reason I had crossed the bridge was for the safety of those kayakers. His attitude then changed, his game was up, and he backed off. He said that he was only there to give me a warning, but that he had the power to give me a fine or take me into custody if I became violent.
I simply replied "thank you sir..... good day".

In conclusion, this was an experience that has changed my view of law enforcement in America. The question remains, why did the trooper focus all of his attention and resources on me instead of all those other people who clearly violated the law before I even arrived? Selective enforcement? I used to think that law enforcment was here to take care of the troublemakers... to put the troublemakers away. Now I'm realizing that law enforcement is only there to try and create troublemakers, so they themselves become the troublemakers.
so after being caught in the act of illegally trespassing your mad at the cop for letting you go with just a verbal warning?
Not mad at the cop, mad at the system here in America. There's plenty of safety violations that happen here in the Gorge daily that are much more explosive, yet they go on without notice or law enforcement. Coal trains spilling there loads along the tracks because of the high winds..... why are these allowed? The use of illegal fireworks is a big violation here in my neighborhood next to Wind Mountain..... these are not for 4th of July or New Years, these are the big fireworks and being used for wedding events during the dry season. Authorities don't care about this. This is clearly a safety hazard and could destroy our beautiful area and kill people. Yes, I have reported this fireworks abuse to authorities, yet they ignore it and they do nothing about it.

Why are they not enforcing the law on these safety issues? Simple... because there's big money and power involved.
“Not all who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

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Koda
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by Koda » May 24th, 2015, 7:57 am

windmtnpete wrote:Not mad at the cop, mad at the system here in America. There's plenty of safety violations that happen here in the Gorge daily that are much more explosive, yet they go on without notice or law enforcement.....
good points, I have to admit patrolling the bridge is isn’t the greatest concern in the grand scheme of things. My guess is the issue is to access the springs one has to pass thru private property? If that’s the case I can see how the property owner would ask for law enforcement given this sue happy world if someone injured themselves crossing the owners bridge.
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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windmtnpete
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by windmtnpete » May 24th, 2015, 9:43 am

Koda wrote:
windmtnpete wrote:Not mad at the cop, mad at the system here in America. There's plenty of safety violations that happen here in the Gorge daily that are much more explosive, yet they go on without notice or law enforcement.....
good points, I have to admit patrolling the bridge is isn’t the greatest concern in the grand scheme of things. My guess is the issue is to access the springs one has to pass thru private property? If that’s the case I can see how the property owner would ask for law enforcement given this sue happy world if someone injured themselves crossing the owners bridge.
There are three legal ways to get into the (free) Wind River Hot Springs.

1. Park at the Carson Hot Springs Resort (pay $5) and hike on the trail north. This will get you to a number of trail junctions and you just need to figure out how to get down and swim across the river to access the hot springs.

2. Park free on the neighborhood street in Carson (Shipherd Falls Rd) and take the trail that allows access to this place legally and without crossing ANY private land... just look for the junction on the left just before the bend and second gate, that trail takes you down to the bridge, it's all public land. The footbridge is located on public land, but you will risk being fined here. If you choose to swim across, there's some good places downstream of the falls, just explore.

3. Park free on the Home Valley side and walk Indian Cabin Rd. until you come to the gate with all the threatening signs. You can legally use the side of the river to access this public land.... just stay within the flood zone. Since we have such a low water level this year, this is really easy to do.

I hope to meet you folks there..... good day!
“Not all who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Galiman
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Re: Wind River Hot Springs

Post by Galiman » July 5th, 2018, 9:05 pm

Too many people who carry a badge forget where they came from. They let their badge go to their head and forget about their heart. I grew up in Washington but feel like a stranger here now. Idaho and Montana is where Washington was 30 years ago.

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