Party-goers Trash Popular Park with
by Annette Cary
PULLMAN, WA -- A popular play area for Washington State University students has been closed after the park on the Snake River was trashed.
"Enormous amounts" of garbage, broken bottles and beer cans littered Granite Point when Army Corps officials arrived in response to a call from the Whitman County Sheriff's Office on Friday.
The Corps owns the landmark granite rock formation that towers over a swimming hole about six miles upstream from Lower Granite Dam.
Law enforcement arrived at the area after hearing reports that 300 to 500 people were partying there. No groups have been implicated in the vandalism and trashing of the park.
An initial cleanup effort collected about 800 pounds of garbage from the rocky areas, the water, the parking lots and along roads, the Corps said. It filled a dumpster and two pickup trucks.
Visitors also spray-painted graffiti on some of the rock formations along the river.
"I have never seen anything like this -- the vandalism, garbage everywhere -- that isn't even something that I could have ever imagined," said Jason Achziger, the Lower Granite natural resource manager. He grew up in the area.
Granite Point is managed as a nature area. It is one of the few publicly accessible rock formations on the Snake River, the Corps said.
Despite the initial cleanup, the area still has a lot of broken glass, bottle caps and other trash that could pose a hazard to visitors, leading to the closure, the Corps said. No date for reopening has been set.
"We simply do not have the resources to clean up after hundreds of party-goers," Achziger said.
A plan will be developed to manage the park when it reopens to prevent a repeat, according to the Corps.
The park is popular with WSU and University of Idaho students. Tri-Cities charter buses also are seen parked there occasionally.
The Corps also has had trouble with large crowds overwhelming Illia Dunes near Lower Granite Dam and leaving trash.
Personal belongings left at the park were collected by the Corps. Some people left when law enforcement arrived and a storm may have driven others off.
To claim an item, call 509-751-0240.
Illia Dunes reopened after partiers' trash cleaned up by Rich Landers, Spokesman-Review, 9/2/12
Epic Eastern Washington Party Spot Closed After 'Dunes' Strewn With Trash, Feces by Anna King, NW News Network 9/8/14
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