The Upper Falls is visible through trees at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar on Sept. 17, 2015. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

The Upper Falls is visible through trees at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar on Sept. 17, 2015. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

Last chance to comment on changes for Wallace Falls

Updates for the state park could include an additional parking lot and a new approach to the falls.

SULTAN — A final public meeting is planned next week to discuss changes at Wallace Falls State Park.

Washington State Parks will present proposals for additional parking and trails as well as protection for the park’s lakes and rivers.

Easily accessible from U.S. 2 and near the towns of Index and Gold Bar, Wallace Falls is a popular day-use and overnight destination. Its 108 parking stalls are often overrun, state parks planner Randy Kline said. It’s not uncommon for an additional 150 vehicles to pile up outside the park along the side of the road.

Parking at Wallace Falls State Park spills out onto Ley Road in late May. (Joe Beavers)

Parking at Wallace Falls State Park spills out onto Ley Road in late May. (Joe Beavers)

Parks has identified a few nearby lots, including ones owned by Snohomish County and Camp Huston, for potential additional parking areas.

Some areas next to Wallace Falls State Park are owned by the Department of Natural Resources. There’s potential for some new trail connections, or even a new approach to the falls.

Ideally, Kline said state parks would like to create a second, disconnected parking lot that allows visitors to hike to the falls from a different direction. That would help reduce some of the wear and tear on the main trail, which is heavily used, he said.

Much of the DNR-managed land surrounding the park will be harvested for timber in coming years, according to state parks. In an area adjacent to the southeast boundary of Wallace Falls Park, attempts to harvest a 187-acre area known as the Singletary tract have stalled for more than a decade and counting over environmental and aesthetic concerns.

Also at the meeting, Kline said planners will propose classifying some areas around Wallace Lake, Shaw Lake, Jay Lake, the Wallace River and the North Fork Wallace River as hiker-only areas.

The meeting will take place Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sky Valley Event Center, 14315 366th Ave. SE in Startup.

This will be the fifth public meeting discussing changes at the park. Parks staff made many of the same proposals in a public meeting nearly a year ago, but didn’t have the capacity to pursue them at the time.

“We really just want to check back in with the community and just say, ‘Hey, we talked about this, but it’s been a year,’” Kline said. “We want to make sure folks get another look at it.”

Following Wednesday’s meeting, public comment will be open through July 12. Parks has a tentative date of July 18 to present its recommendations to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Have your say

Opportunities for public comment on changes to Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar will be available at the meeting, and public comment may also be provided by contacting Randy Kline, state parks planner, at 360-902-8632 or randy.kline@parks.wa.gov; or online at bit.ly/WallacePlan.

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