POMEROY — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, is promoting public safety and encouraging visitors to recreate responsibly for the benefit of all visitors and public lands in partnership with Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Whitman County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Patrol and Washington State University Police Department.
“We encourage visitors to take care of themselves as they have a good time in the sun,” Deputy Chief of Natural Resources for Lower Granite Lock and Dam Megan Innes said. “Use sunscreen, stay hydrated, and wear your life jacket. If you can help a friend stay safe, please do so.”
Illia Dunes and Granite Point, USACE lands located on the Snake River about 3 miles downstream and 6 miles upstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam respectively, have proven a popular end-of-summer gathering place. In recent years, thousands of visitors – mostly college-aged – have converged on these areas during the weekends leading up to Labor Day weekend, often leaving trash and creating safety hazards for other visitors.
USACE Natural Resource staff would like to remind visitors of the following rules that help everyone have a pleasant experience at Illia Dunes and Granite Point:
- A permanent alcohol ban is now in effect at Granite Point recreation site on Lower Granite Lake since May 2022. This change is designed to enhance public safety and increase the overall recreational quality of the site.
- USACE has the option of banning alcohol consumption on USACE lands at any time, and such bans are in place at several locations in the region. While alcohol consumption at Illia Dunes is not banned at this time, underage drinking is not allowed. Remember, state laws prohibit driving or boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Remember that drugs are prohibited on federal lands, even if state law allows it.
- Parking is restricted to nearby USACE parking lots only. Due to the size, the configuration of available space, and limited maneuverability for larger vehicles, no busses are allowed to park in these lots. Illia Dunes parking is limited to a total of about 120 cars and Granite Point is limited to a total of 16 cars.
- No public parking is allowed on Almota Ferry Road near Illia Dunes or Wawawai Road near Granite Point. “No Parking” signs have been placed along the roadway. Shoulder parking encroaches on traffic lanes, making the roadway narrower and preventing cars and emergency vehicles from safely passing. It also creates pedestrian hazards. Vehicles that are parked along Almota Ferry Road and Wawawai Road are subject to ticketing and/or towing and impoundment.
- Cliff jumping or diving is not allowed at Granite Point or other USACE properties. Visitors cannot see underwater obstructions and risk serious injury and death.
- Any act or conduct by any person which interferes with, impedes, or disrupts the use of the site or impairs the safety of any person is prohibited. Individuals who are boisterous, rowdy, disorderly or otherwise disturb the peace on USACE lands or waters may be requested to leave.
- No glass containers are allowed. USACE provides free trash bags for visitors to use for “pack it in, pack it out” trash removal. Please use the trash bags and put filled trash bags into on-site garbage receptacles.
- Fireworks are not allowed on USACE lands at any time.
- Although not a new requirement, it should be noted that tour and school buses must contact the Lower Granite Lock & Dam Security at 509-843-2210 at least 24 hours in advance for dam crossing authorization.
The Walla Walla District will continue to monitor how well visitors keep glass containers off the beach, consume alcohol responsibly, use provided restrooms, and enjoy their visit without violating laws or posted notices. In this way, visitors will be helping determine future public use of these areas.
Together, the public and Natural Resource team of the Walla Walla District can ensure these areas provide a fun and safe recreational opportunity for all visitors. More information about Walla Walla District recreation opportunities is available on the District website at www.nww.usace.army.mil/corpsoutdoors.