A few weeks ago, when EB I-90 was being detoured off the freeway via the Stampede Pass / Lake Kachess exit's off- & on-ramps, I rode down the John "Palouse to Cascades" Wayne Iron Pioneer Horse Trail from Hyak to witness the junkshow and then on my way back, stopped at the river to enjoy a cold one as it was a quite warm sunny afternoon.
That's where something caught my eye - a primitive old picnic shelter just up the river. I walked up and discovered something that must've been built in the 30s as it was incredible carpentry with proper wood joins and wood pegs holding the joints together. The roof was cedar shake and while it was missing a few shingles and the whole structure was shifting, I was surprised at how good of condition the old shelter was in. I walked around a little bit more and realized there were campsites - many still had functional picnic tables and firepits, a few still had their site numbers and both outhouses were still unlocked and in a usable state (if you don't mind sharing with hoards of spiders and their cobwebs).
I tried to find more about the campground on the 'net and as best I can tell, it's the former Crystal Springs Campground, which was operational as late as the mid-2000s. I imagine they shuttered it as part of the I-90 project (and there are signs up about wildlife closures) and it is right next to the freeway so it's not exactly peaceful. I've been exploring some former fire LO sites this summer between the pass and Cle Elum and one of the old maps I came across is a "Cle Elum Recreation Areas" map from the mid-1930s. That map has all the old lookouts as well as the Crystal Springs Campground on it.
Does anyone know more about this place? It seems like with demand through the roof for outdoor recreation, this might be something worth lobbying to get re-opened as it's still in a pretty usable state.
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