TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials have temporarily closed public access to Borgans Island (also known as Chiawana Island) on the Columbia River between Pasco and Kennewick due to unauthorized visitor activities.
The closure is necessary due to the extensive amount of digging on the island (makeshift latrines) and concentrated disposal of human waste, toilet paper, diapers, glass and other trash observed on the island. These unauthorized activities have resulted in environmental damage and potential public health and safety issues for future visitors. Reopening is contingent upon a Corps clean-up and reassessment, and is unscheduled at this time due to unavailability of resources.
“We really don’t want to restrict access, but protecting the health and safety of visitors, as well as protecting the island, is in everyone’s best interest,” said Natural Resources Management Chief Joyce Dunning. “It’s disappointing that the irresponsible actions of some have resulted in impacting all visitors to this location.”
The Corps will continue to monitor the island. Closure signs and public notices will be posted. Enforcement is conducted by Corps rangers and local law enforcement.
Borgans Island will remain closed until the Corps is able to identify appropriate management options to prevent such unauthorized disposal and damage from occurring in the future. The District welcomes suggestions from the public and local governmental entities in the Tri-Cities concerning management of Borgans Island and we will consider offers from volunteer groups to assist the District with ongoing trash cleanup.
Ice Harbor Natural Resources Management staff pointed out several nearby shoreline recreation areas that offer developed visitor services, including boat launches, courtesy docks, trash receptacles and restrooms: Chiawana Park and Columbia Park are located directly adjacent to the island along the Columbia River’s Pasco and Kennewick shorelines. Slightly downstream of Chiawana Park, on the Pasco side of the river, Wade Park (also known as Road 54) also offers visitor and boater facilities.
For information about other Corps of Engineers recreation opportunities in the Tri-Cities area, check out the parks list at www.nww.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/McNaryDamandLakeWallula.aspx.
Release no. 14-076