18-042 Granite Point closed until further notice due to visitors’ trash, vandalism

Published May 2, 2018
PULLMAN, Wash. – Granite Point day-use area is closed until further notice due to health and safety concerns after recent heavy visitation, trash accumulation and vandalism, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced today.

On Friday, April 27, 2018, more than 300 people visited Granite Point, a popular landmark formation of granite stone, located at Snake River Mile 113 on the north shoreline, about six miles upstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam.

Enormous amounts of trash, broken bottles, beer cans and personal items were scattered throughout the rocky areas, left in the water, strewn about the parking lots and discarded along the roadway, creating potential health and safety hazards for future visitors. Initial cleanup efforts collected about 800 pounds of refuse, filling an on-site dumpster and two pickup truck beds. Visitors that day also vandalized the scenic landmark by spray-painting graffiti on several rocky formations along the river.

“Our first objective is to clean up the area and remove the dangerous broken glass and debris,” said Lisa Routhier, Corps park ranger. “There is still a lot of broken glass, bottle caps and other bits of trash there that poses a hazard to visitors.”

The public is asked to respect the closure signs and barriers. Corps officials do not know at this time when the area will reopen. Natural Resources Management staff are developing a plan and coordinating resources to accomplish the cleanup. In light of this incident, officials will need to determine how to manage the area in the future to help prevent such occurrences.

Granite Point is currently being managed as a nature area. It is one of the few publicly accessible rock formations on the Snake River where recreation is accommodated, and thousands of visitors go there each year to enjoy outdoor recreation opportunities.

"I grew up in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, and have been going to Granite Point my entire life,” said Jason Achziger, Lower Granite natural resource manager. “I have never seen anything like this -- the vandalism, garbage everywhere -- that isn't something that I could have ever imagined. It's an absolute shame."

Visitors to Granite Point have long been encouraged to place their trash in on-site dumpsters before they leave, and the Corps provides free bags for that purpose.

“We simply do not have the resources to clean up after hundreds of party-goers,” Achziger said. “It’s a real disappointment. This necessary closure is extremely unfortunate for visitors who appreciate these natural recreation areas and pick up after themselves.”

Personal items were recovered from the site. For visitors interested in reclaiming them, they can provide a description of the item(s) and proof of identity at the Lower Granite Natural Resource Management Office, located at 100 Fair Street in Clarkston, Washington. Call 509-751-0240 for more information.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 18-042