After several months of soul-searching and weighing alternatives, we’ve come to the difficult decision that Morton’s Warm Springs will remain closed for 2020. We expect to reopen next spring in May of 2021. Because of our brief season (the county limits access for the general public to just three short months with two ‘shoulder’ months of weekends & holidays), opening this year would mean a significant financial loss with substantial risks to the health, safety and wellbeing of all involved.
This difficult choice came into focus in the last weeks as we considered the sacrifices that any opening would carry. For one, reduced numbers with social distancing would mean spending the same fixed costs but without the daily visitors to recoup them, let alone make income. Additionally, many of the groups, schools and families we traditionally welcome have already had to shift plans away from field trips, reunions and other social gatherings for the year, and limited visitors would also mean shuttering our beloved organic Cafe 108°. Basically, we saw that we’d be fighting an uphill battle in any attempt to adhere to ‘business as usual’ in times that are anything but.
Another major consideration is our commitment to safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of all who share belonging here, including those in the natural world around us. Following heightened safety and sanitization protocols means introducing a vast new quantity of single-use waste and sterilizing chemicals into our local ecology. As we attempt to keep humans safe, all those downstream of us would end up further harmed by the unintended consequences of our actions -something that goes against our values of ecological stewardship. Also critical during this time of great social change, when we talk of safeguarding diverse ecosystems that matter, it means prioritizing building relationship and standing in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other people of color who are being impacted disproportionately by COVID-19 and oppressive systemic forces embedded in our society, and which many of us partake in daily through ‘business as usual.’ Clearly, this is a time to deeply examine and reimagine the courses we have been set on, and to take bold action to see a just and equitable world.
We want you to know that keeping the Springs closed for the year is not something we take lightly during times when a dose of sunshine, connection in nature, and a dip in the medicine of hot springs goes a long way for many of us. This may be a historic first that the public is unable to come and access the healing resources that are here. Please know that this decision to close would be very different if we didn’t have the additional county constraint limiting our ability to be creative with other offerings to you, our members and guests. While our gates will remain closed for the time being, we’ll be in a deep repair process building up foundations for a longer arc ahead. We’ll also be exploring how we can create better access to the medicine of these healing waters and reassessing what’s ours to do in this historic moment and vast sea change being called forth.
These are times of extraordinary upheavals and transformation where countless old systems are shifting and splintering as new possibilities emerge. Our prayer is that we all step forward in mutual support and true care for one another so that we may all pull through together and emerge stronger into something new.
Thank you for being with us,
~The Morton’s Warm Springs Stewards