The Lower Falls near the Woody Trail at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

The Lower Falls near the Woody Trail at Wallace Falls State Park near Gold Bar. (Ian Terry / Herald file)

Parking fixes, trail upgrades on itinerary at Wallace Falls

A state parks meeting on Wednesday aims to fine-tune ideas for the popular hiking spot.

GOLD BAR — The waterfall isn’t the only torrent you’re likely to find at the popular hiking spot.

An overflow of vehicles often gushes from the parking lot at Wallace Falls State Park.

It’s one of the problems state parks officials expect to take on Wednesday evening, when they talk about improving the trail system around Wallace Falls. The meeting is the last of three scheduled to brainstorm ideas before committing to specific plans later this year.

“This is where we come forward with our preliminary recommendations,” said Randy Kline, a state parks planner.

The meet-up is set for 6 to 8 p.m. at Sultan City Hall.

The park near Gold Bar is part of the recreation-rich U.S. 2 corridor. Its 1,380 acres include old-growth forests, a stretch of the Wallace and Skykomish rivers, as well as alpine lakes. The name comes from a 265-foot waterfall that many consider the park’s main attraction.

The upcoming meeting aims to build on previous sessions parks officials hosted in November and March. They plan to accept written comments through Aug. 3.

Formal recommendations are due to reach the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission Sept. 20.

Parking was a major theme during the fall and spring forums.

Ways to ease crowding at the main lot off Ley Road include acquiring an adjacent property to expand parking. There’s also the option of building up a trailhead to the east that’s owned by Snohomish County.

Another concept is providing shuttle service to the park from Gold Bar, possibly run by a concessionaire.

Parks officials also heard from people who would like to see more work to connect the Wallace Falls trail system with the Reiter Foothills next door. The state Department of Natural Resources manages Reiter as a working forest, where timber harvests generate money for schools, roads and other government functions.

The DNR, by statute, also has a duty to provide outdoor recreation opportunities. The latter, some day, could include a new trail to Wallace Falls from Reiter.

It’s unlikely that the state park would ever expand onto the DNR-managed areas, as some have urged.

“At this point, state parks has no interest in acquiring additional land,” Kline said.

DNR is conducting a series of meetings about building out 25 miles of trails at Reiter for non-motorized users such as hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@herald Twitter: @NWhaglund.

The third of three meetings to discuss improvements at Wallace Falls State Park is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Location: Sultan City Hall community room, 319 Main St.

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