POMEROY, Wash. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, is promoting public safety and encouraging visitors to recreate responsibly in partnership with Garfield County Sheriff Office, Whitman County Sheriff 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,” Assistant Natural Resources Manager 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 three miles downstream and six miles upstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam respectively, have proven to be a popular end-of-summer gathering place. In recent years, primarily college-aged visitors have gathered at these areas during the weekends leading up to Labor Day, often leaving trash and creating health and safety hazards.
USACE Natural Resources staff would like to remind visitors of the following rules that help everyone have a safe and pleasant experience at Illia Dunes and Granite Point:
- A permanent alcohol ban is 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, beer pong tables and drinking funnels are not allowed and groups with intoxicated members will be asked to leave. 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.
- Once the Illia Dunes parking lot is full, Lower Granite Dam crossing will be closed to Illia Dunes traffic. Vehicles will still be able to return northbound within regular crossing hours. Status of Illia Dunes dam crossing will be updated on Lower Granite’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/LowerGraniteDam/.
- Parking is restricted to USACE parking lots only. Due to the size and configuration of available space and the limited maneuverability for larger vehicles, no busses are allowed in these lots. Illia Dunes parking is limited to approximately 100 vehicle parking spaces and Granite Point is limited to 16 vehicle parking spaces.
- 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. Vehicles 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.
- 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 disorderly or otherwise disturb the peace on USACE lands or waters may be requested to leave.
- 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.
- Dam crossing hours are extended May 26 through September 3. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.. Crossing closes promptly at the times listed above. Allow yourself enough time to wait in line.
- Although not a new requirement, it should be noted that buses must contact the Lower Granite Lock and 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 resources 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 https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/.
Release no. 23-045