Water cascades down the Lower Falls near the Woody Trail at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar in 2015. The park is one of the county’s most popular outdoor attractions. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

Water cascades down the Lower Falls near the Woody Trail at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar in 2015. The park is one of the county’s most popular outdoor attractions. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

GOLD BAR — Sure, it’s beautiful, but try to park on a Saturday after 11 a.m.

Wallace Falls State Park, just outside of Gold Bar, is one of Snohomish County’s most popular outdoor attractions. The first portion of the hike is child-friendly, which brings in young families and group outings.

The state counted 224,000 visits to the park in 2016. Yet there are only 108 parking spots. That was the subject of many of the comments collected at a recent public meeting about the future of the park. A state study is under way into land use at Wallace Falls, including parking. In addition, the rules on neighboring roads have been getting stricter.

There is no overflow lot. The lone route to reach the trailhead, Ley Road, runs through city and county jurisdiction. Street parking on the unincorporated portion of Ley Road, north of the Wallace River, hasn’t been allowed for decades, said Dale Valliant, traffic operations supervisor with Snohomish County public works.

“People were not using good judgment and parking in places where it really wasn’t safe or appropriate,” Valliant said.

The same goes for the county’s stretch of May Creek Road, the next closest street, which also leads out of town. From there, it’s an uphill walk of nearly half a mile to reach the trailhead. That hasn’t been much of a deterrence.

Last summer, the county added three more no-parking signs in the neighborhood. The request came from Gold Bar Police Chief Dave Casey, a sergeant with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

In May 2016, the city of Gold Bar banned street parking on its stretch of Ley Road. The impetus was “numerous citizen complaints and numerous 911 calls,” city clerk-treasurer Lisa Stowe said. People were blocking driveways and taking up private property or half the roadway, she said. That created problems for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.

“The only changes that have been made since then have been replacing signs when people steal, or pull up, the existing signs,” she said.

Deputies have made note of parking problems on Ley Road at least six times since the rules changed, according to sheriff’s office records.

The state’s long-terms plans for Wallace Falls remain under review.

A public meeting was held in November, and others are likely to follow in February and April, according to an agency spokeswoman.

More than 100 comments from the first meeting were posted online, and about a third of them touched on parking. Some people suggested adding a shuttle or bus service to the trailhead. Some said they wanted the no-parking signs to go away; others wanted more enforcement.

The state parks commission is expected to consider a final plan for Wallace Falls in the fall. The public is encouraged to provide comments by contacting randy.kline@parks.wa.gov, 360-902-8632.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Bothell
2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.