The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making progress on cleanup of the Illia Dunes recreation area on the Snake River.
The area was closed to public use on Monday due to health and safety concerns after heavy visitation and trash accumulation occurring last weekend. Many broken bottles and beer cans were left in the water, garbage was strewn about the parking lots, and litter was discarded along the roadway.
Corps staff and a grounds maintenance contractor have cleaned most of the trash from the beach area at Illia Dunes. About 3,000 pounds of trash have been removed as of Thursday, including hundreds of Styrofoam coolers. Trash still needs to be removed from the in-water area of the dunes, plus three miles of ditch between Illia Dunes and Lower Granite Dam.
Corps officials have not yet decided when to reopen the area, as that decision is contingent upon completion of trash cleanup and analysis of water quality.
Illia Dunes visitors should take their trash with them when they leave, and the Corps provides free bags for that purpose. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)