OLYMPIA — Concerns about vandalism and threats to public safety has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to close access to Ponds 4 and 5 off Interstate 82 east of Yakima effective July 31.
The site will remain closed until further notice.
Bruce Bjork, WDFW enforcement chief, said the closure is necessary because of excessive dumping, vandalism and evidence of gang-related use of the area during summer months. WDFW enforcement officers will be patrolling the access site and working with local law enforcement to address the situation, he said.
During the closure, WDFW will be cleaning up the area, as well as repainting and repairing some structures.
“We hate to close WDFW access sites, but because there is a public safety concern it’s important that we take immediate action,” Bjork said. "It's regrettable that the actions of a few individuals have forced us to restrict access for the many citizens who enjoy this site."
Ponds 4 and 5 are part of WDFW’s Sunnyside Wildlife Area in southcentral Washington.