The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close the Beebe Springs Unit of the Chelan Wildlife Area on Jan. 11 until maintenance can resume this spring.
WDFW Lands Operation Manager Rich Finger said that a vault toilet on the property, just east of Chelan off Highway 97 on the Columbia River, is routinely locked during the winter months when conditions limit maintenance ability. However, while the gate to the area has remained open, some highway travelers have been using the grounds as a rest stop.
That has created issues with sanitation, trash, and general public health and safety issue, Finger said.
“Typically wildlife areas like this can remain open in the winter without maintenance and not cause problems,” he said. “But because Highway 97 is a major travel corridor through Chelan County, this property is being abused. I’m sorry we have to make this closure, but we can’t allow this situation to continue.”
WDFW is looking for a long-term, fiscally-sustainable solution for Beebe Springs, but until then the department will implement a seasonal closure from Dec. 1 through March 15.