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Epic Eastern Washington Party Spot Closed After 'Dunes' Strewn With Trash, Feces

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An epic swim hole and university party spot on public land in Eastern Washington has been closed downafter nearly 2,000 people mobbed the spot this past weekend.

The horde littered the place known as “The Dunes” with trash, adult-beverage containers and … well, other leavings.

The Snake River’s Illia Dunes is just downstream from the Lower Granite Dam. It’s a pleasant weekend drive from Pullman or Moscow, Idaho. The large sandy beach is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As university studies kicked off, Army rangers talked with campus groups about taking care of the area.

Gina Baltrush, a spokeswoman for the agency’s Walla Walla District, said, “We don’t know when we are going to open it at this time. We don’t resource ourselves for having to clean up after thousands of partygoers who refuse to use the trash bins and bags.”

Baltrush says the Army is now reviewing what type of professional cleanup service might be required. According to Baltrush, many of the partiers “didn’t use the bathrooms.”

Washington State University has had a push in the last few years to curb binge-drinking including amped-up policies and freshman education. Both WSU and the University of Idaho spokespeople say they are aware of the incident, but don’t have any statement.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.