Aug. 21, 2014 1:49 p.m. - Updated: 1:49 p.m.
PUBLIC LANDS — Illia Dunes, a Snake River beach and recreation site especially popular in August and September with college students, is being reopened today after last week's closure stemming from fecal coliforms found in water samples.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says test results received early this afternoon showed the area was again safe for in-water recreation.
Corps natural resources staff take weekly water samples at swimming areas in the district and have them tested for fecal coliforms that pose a potential hazard to human health. The Illia Dunes beach was closed Aug. 15 after tests showed that fecal bacteria exceeded levels considered safe for people.
In past years, Illia Dunes, located on the Snake River about three miles downstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam, has proven a popular end-of-summer gathering place.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers natural resources staff remind visitors of the following rules for the dunes and other Corps Snake River recreation areas:
Illia Dunes parking is restricted to two nearby Corps parking lots only. Due to the size, configuration of available space and limited maneuverability for larger vehicles, no busses are allowed to park in these lots. The two parking lots hold a total of about 120 cars. Although not a new requirement, it should be noted that tour and school buses must contact the dam at 509-843-1493 at least 24 hours in advance for crossing authorization.
No public parking is allowed on the adjacent 50-mph speed limit Almota Ferry Road. “No Parking” signs have been placed along the roadway. Warm-weather visitors parking on the two-lane, road shoulder have often encroached on traffic lanes, making the roadway narrower and preventing cars and emergency vehicles from safely passing. Shoulder parking also creates pedestrian hazards.
Banning alcohol consumption on Corps lands is an option the Corps could enact 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 is not allowed. Remember, 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.
Conducting special events on Corps property is prohibited without a special-use permit. Permit applications are available at Corps natural resource management offices, and take about 30 days to review and determine if the requested activity will be allowed.
Sound-producing equipment operated in such a manner as to unreasonably annoy other visitors is prohibited.
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 boisterous, rowdy, disorderly or otherwise disturb the peace on Corps lands or waters may be requested to leave.
No glass containers are allowed on the Dunes, and the Corps 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.
Corps officials say they will continue to patrol and monitor how well visitors keep glass containers off the beach at all times, consume alcohol responsibly, use provided restrooms, not use fireworks on Corps lands at any time, and enjoy their visit without violating laws or posted notices. In this way, visitors will be helping determine future public use of the area, which is also a wildlife habitat management area.
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