Temporary fencing was erected in late 2015 to keep people off potentially dangerous trails at the Palouse Falls State Park 20 miles east of Kahlotus. Franklin Fire District 2 had seen its resources stretched by having to respond to at least a dozen emergency calls within a year.
Designated trails at the park were reopened in late March with warning signs posted where trails have been created by visitors - some of them developed from trails used by animals.
“We’re not encouraging people to use trails because of a lot of risk,” Toni Droscher, State Parks and Recreation Commission spokeswoman, told the Tri-City Herald earlier this month.
Anyone traveling beyond the warning signs assumes all risk.
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The unofficial trails travel along ledges and high cliffs where people can easily lose their footing.
The state continues to look for long-term solutions for safe access.
Those who want input into a survey on trail use, or would like to serve on the advisory committee for the park’s trail plan, may call 509-337-6457. They also can leave their contact information in the pay box at the park.
The park’s popularity has increased since the students of the Washtucna School District succeeded in having Palouse Falls declared Washington's official state waterfall in 2014.
Visitors increased to about 120,000 people annually from 46,000 a decade earlier.
Visitors to the falls this spring should bring their own drinking water.
The potable water at the park has been shut off due to a maintenance issue. There is no estimated repair time.