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Flaming Geyser State Park
Close to Auburn and Black Diamond


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Flaming Geyser state park

Location
Green River Gorge State Park is a conservation area located in King County 2.5 miles south of Black Diamond and 8 miles north of Enumclaw off State Highway 169. Areas within the park are the Flaming Geyser Recreation Area, Kummer Bridge Area, the Black Diamond Heritage Area, the Old Town of Franklin Heritage Area, the Hanging Gardens Recreation Area, the Walter A. Jellum Area, the Kanaskat/Palmer Recreation Area, and the Nolte Recreation Area. The developed areas are Flaming Geyser, Nolte, and Kanaskat-Palmer.

Acreage
2008.02 acres with over 18 miles of river shoreline.

Acquired
The 1969 Legislature, by declaration, established the Green River Gorge Conservation Area. The Legislature directed the Commission to take such steps as necessary to protect this area with its many examples of unique biological and geological features, for education and recreational interpretation. In 1969, the area was within one hours driving time of 1,700,000 people. The Commission directed staff to acquire in fee 1,500 acres and establish protection of an additional 1,100 acres by development right acquisition, trail easement, and timber cutting rights acquisition. Over thirty-five parcels have been acquired since 1969 with a total purchase cost in excess of $3,208,000.

Historical Background
Coal, clay and cinnabar have all been mined from the Gorge area, with coal coming from the Kummer, Gene, McKay beds and Franklin #10 in past years. Approximately 14 percent of all of Washington's coal is mined here. While many coal seams traverse the area, only one mine, the John Henry open pit mine, is presently in operation. It is located just outside of the town of Black Diamond. High alumina flint clay has been mined underground in the Kummer area; however, there has been no activity there for many years.
About 20 flasks of mercury were produced from cinnabar mines on the Royal Reward during the late 1950s; however, high arsenic content and irregular distribution, coupled with the heavy glacial overburden, made this and the Cardinal Reward difficult to explore. This is now part of the Walter A. Jellum Area.
Flaming Geyser derives its name from the seepage of methane gas from an old test core bored into the underlying coal seams. The gas, when ignited, creates a small torch flame in a rock pit.
One of the two former YDCC camps is located at Flaming Geyser and has been located there since 1973. It is now available to the public for group meetings.
In April 1973, the Commission entered into 1) a use agreement with King County Parks to manage 98.4 acres of county land adjacent to Flaming Geyser, with 4,800 feet of shoreline on the Green River, and 2) easements and agreements with the Department of Fisheries, Burlington Northern, and Palmer Coking Coal Company.

Facilities
Six picnic shelters, 172 picnic tables, 256 car parking with 200 additional overflow parking spaces, 7 fire pits, 30 grills on pedestals, 2 restrooms, recycling sewage plant, former YDCC lodge, 2 residences, shop building, seasonal housing, and 38.4 miles of roads and trail throughout the Gorge Area. A group day use reservation system accepting groups up to 500.

Of Special Interest
Our namesake, the Flaming geyser, and its smaller companion, the Bubbling geyser, are both unique and intriguing features. While only burning 6 to 10 inches high now, in its younger days the Flaming geyser burned several feet high with higher gushes of fire and water. It was even featured in "Ripley's Believe It or Not". Located at the downstream end of the Green River gorge, Flaming Geyser State Park Recreation Area is a popular take-out point for rafters and kayakers enjoying whitewater adventures in the gorge. During summer low-water levels, the park is very popular with people floating on inner tubes, air mattresses, and other floating devices. The Green River is usually one of the top ten steelheading rivers in Washington, adding to our use, especially in the winter months.

Activities:
Picnicking, hiking, fishing, day use, kayaking, rafting, tube floating, and bird watching.

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Courtesy of Washington State Park and Recreation Commission

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