Clarkston, Wash. -- Little Goose Lock and Dam and Lower Granite Lock and Dam have announced that Illia Dunes Recreation Area and Granite Point will be closed from Friday, Aug. 21 until Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District (Corps), in coordination with local health departments and law enforcement, have reached a consensus that in order to ensure visitor safety, Illia Dunes and Granite Point must remain closed through Labor Day weekend. They will reopen Tuesday, Sept. 8.
This decision is the result of concerns over public safety due to COVID and historic issues with overcrowding during this timeframe with local college students returning to the area for fall classes. Corps officials documented more than 700 people at Illia Dunes in 2019, more than 500 in 2018 and more than 3,000 in 2014. Corps officials have observed hundreds of visitors at Granite Point during this timeframe with the parking lot overflowing onto the roadway. Overcrowding of the areas makes it impossible for visitors to maintain safe social distancing.
The Corps reminds visitors that while other recreation areas remain open, they should maintain proper social distancing practices by staying at least six feet away from other people and by planning ahead to make sure they aren’t visiting a site that is already crowded with people.
Overcrowding and failure to observe CDC guidance may result in the Corps reevaluating the necessity to close recreation areas.
Updates to the status of Illia Dunes, Granite Point and other recreational facilities will be posted both on Facebook and on the Walla Walla District Website under each of the dams listed at https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/.
Release no. 20-116