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Flaming Geyser State Park to be closed for two years for repairs

The Washington State Parks Commission announced of Flaming Geyser State Park near Black Diamond will be closed to vehicular traffic in most of the park due to electrical failure and public safety concerns stemming from a worn out and outdated system.

According to a press release from the commission, the park will undergo significant construction and upgrades on electrical, water, sewer, roads, parking and buildings as soon as environmental permits are obtained. Repairs are expected to take at least two years to complete.

The park has experienced numerous electrical power problems over the past several months, followed by attempts at smaller repairs to keep the park open. Recently, an inventory showed that a greater repair is needed for public safety reasons. Plans had already been under way, and the Legislature had included $3.47 million in the 2009-11 capital budget for state parks to upgrade the park and create a reliable infrastructure.

Managers determined that with the recent power failures, public safety could be assured only by closing the park to traffic and taking care of all the repairs and improvements at once. Parking and sanitary facilities are available at the airfield parking lot.

Flaming Geyser State Park lies 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 is enjoyed for 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.


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