Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat & Conference Center is an off-grid, holistic center located in the Cascades, along the Breitenbush River. Breitenbush operates as a worker-owned cooperative. Typically, most of the workers live in a quaint village of provided cottages across a footbridge from the guest facilities. In an average year, Breitenbush attracts over 35,000 guests to the natural, mineral springs and workshop offerings.
In 2020, the COVID pandemic posed new challenges, requiring the co-op to rethink communal aspects of the facilities and redesign them to fit with COVID safety protocols. Just over a month after successfully opening to guests with these new protocols in place, the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires converged on Highway 46 and burned through the Brietenbush property, destroying more than half of our buildings. Our staff and guests all safely evacuated before the fires hit, but with the level of devastation wrought, we had to lay off more than three-quarters of the staff and now are in the process of regrouping and planning to rebuild. Currently staff are working on revitalizing damaged systems and preparing to open Breitenbush’s gates in the summer of 2021 to guests to enjoy the hot springs in a simplified camping experience, with plans for a fuller reopening in the summer of 2022.
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Check out the Holistic Centers Network blog for opportunities at other retreat centers similar to Breitenbush and the Fellowship for Intentional Community website for information about intentional communities around the world.