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Alcohol Banned at Popular Snake River Party Spot
for WA and Idaho College Students

by Annette Cary
Tri-City Herald, May 19, 2022

Illia Dunes on the Snake River was packed with people on an August weekend. The party, in 2012, left the area covered with trash, broken bottles and beer cans. (photo Army Corps of Engineers) Alcohol has been banned at one of two parks on the Snake River popular with college students in Eastern Washington. The Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday that alcohol would no longer be allowed at Granite Point park, where Washington State University and University of Idaho students like to celebrate the end and the start of the academic year. Tri-Cities charter buses also are seen parked there occasionally.

However, alcohol continues to be allowed at Illia Dunes park, another spot popular with college students. Area college students call the Granite Point park's rocky hillside that stands over a river swimming hole "the cliffs."

It makes the park near Lower Granite Dam a popular spot for dangerous activities like cliff jumping, which is prohibited, and swimming across the narrow canyon channel, which has barge traffic. "These activities become even more dangerous when combined with alcohol use," the Corps said in a statement.

Officials also are hoping that the ban will reduce the number of complaints it receives related to alcohol abuse and allow a more pleasant experience for all visitors. A spring 2018 party there attracted 300 to 500 people to Granite Point and left 800 pounds of debris that Corps workers hauled off. WSU and U of I students also volunteered to help with the cleanup. The park had to be closed for a week.

Illia Dunes, often called the Dunes, just downstream of the same dam, also has had problems. It was trashed in late August 2012 when more than 3,000 people visited. It happened again in early September 2014, when 1,800 people visited the Dunes on one day, leaving it littered with broken bottles and beer cans. The water level in the river had to be lowered to clean up trash in the water. Visits to the two parks have been down this spring, likely because of the cool, rainy weather, according to the Corps.

Related Pages:
After Vandalism Found at Granite Point, Corps are Considering its Options ACOE Press Release, Daily Fly, 6/30/20

Annette Cary covers Hanford, energy, the environment, science and health for the Tri-City Herald. She's been a news reporter for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest.
Alcohol Banned at Popular Snake River Party Spot for WA and Idaho College Students
Tri-City Herald, May 19, 2022

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