Thinking about hiking up to Lower Falls on the Lewis River to beat the heat? Don’t. But if you really have to see it, go on the weekdays.
Hordes of visitors are making the site extremely overcrowded, trashed and trampled.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is urging people to spare the Lower Falls Recreation Area and seek out new places in the forest to visit.
“There’s way more people at the site than the site was developed to handle,” said Emily Platt, district ranger for the Mount Adams Ranger District. “There’s overuse of restroom facilitates that are already in bad shape. There’s a huge amount of erosion, and it’s really changing the character of the site. It’s not intentional — people don’t mean to do that — but it’s unavoidable with that many people out there.“
In a news release, the agency said the site has been especially popular on this summer’s weekends, especially as temperatures have spiked. As a result, people are leaving water bottles, cigarette butts and beer cans and other garbage behind, trails are getting eroded, and the plants around the site are getting trampled. Parking areas are overflowing, and cars are spilling out onto the roadside, which could impede first-responder access during emergencies should they be needed, according to the Forest Service.
Platt said that on July 21, there were 150 vehicles lined up along the road outside the day-use area. The next day, there were 180, she said.