Small community in King County prepares for large crowds, garbage during hot weekend

The summer heat for the upcoming weekend is sure to get people outdoors. However, health officials are warning how easily COVID-19 can spread in large crowds. Garbage left behind is another public health concern one community is worried about.

Residents in Fall City are preparing for thousands of people to visit their community. On a hot day, floating down the Snoqualmie River in Fall City is cool way to cool off.

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s beautiful. Chill two and a half, three hours. It’s a great time,” said Dwayne Barnett, while preparing to float on the river.

Barnett visited the river last week and this time he brought his family. He said they’re trying to get a peaceful float in before the anticipated large crowds this weekend. For those that live in the unincorporated community in King County handling all the extra people is a challenge

“Like 30,000 come in and we don’t have public restrooms or resources for garbage collection. So, we have to find a way to coexist,” said Angela Donaldson of the Fall City Community Association

Coexisting hasn’t been going as smoothly this summer in Donaldson’s opinion. She said in eight weeks this summer visitors have left behind a total of 50,000 pounds of trash.

“The residents are put in a position of having to clean up after them and that’s not what common sense people want. And we just ask for some courtesy really by the people that don’t live here,” said Donaldson.

With temperatures soaring this weekend, the King County Marine Rescue Dive Unit said more patrols will be in Falls City to monitor the river and influx of people.

“We’ve been seeing continuously this whole summer. It keeps our workload very busy which can also make it difficult to get to the emergency calls when we’re chasing around all of the public who is not prepared,” said Sgt. Ben Callahan.

Donaldson said she has also noticed visitors aren’t wearing masks or social distancing, which officials at Public Health - Seattle & King County said is a problem. In a statement, a representative wrote, “Too many people aren’t doing the things we need them to do so we can reopen in-person schooling and other important activities. Safe Start is also the law, with the potential for a misdemeanor citation for violations.”

Donaldson said she and other residents and just asking visitors not to violate their community, so everyone can safely enjoy a float in a clean environment.

“We really want people to use the restrooms that fall city floating provides And not go in people’s private property. It’s not good for the fish, it’s not good for the environment for people to leave their garbage and their waste,” said Donaldson. “It would be great if they could just have some common courtesy.”

Fall City Floating handles parking and reservation information for visitors. The business also has portable restrooms available. Community members are asking visitors to use those resources to help coordinate the influx of people and traffic. More details are available on the Fall City Floating website.