Parts of Palouse Falls State Park permanently closed due to safety concerns

PULLMAN, Wash. – Parts of Palouse Falls State Park are now closed to the public. 

Safety concerns pushed Washington State Parks and Recreation to close the rock formation known as Castle Rock, as well as access to cliffs and the plunge pool of the falls. 

The decision comes after several deaths at the state park in recent years. In several of those cases, people have fallen from the cliffs into the water. 

Cade Prophet died at the park in 2018 when he was standing above the waterfall. Rock crumbled underneath him, causing him to plunge down. 

READ: Local mother whose son died at Palouse Falls calls for change

Just last summer, a 28-year-old man had to be rescued after being struck by a falling rock the size of a football. 

At their meeting last week, Commissioner Ken Bounds asked about the possibility of guided hikes in the closure area. Washington State Parks planner Laura Moxham said she recommended against this option as the safety concern is still too high. 

However, there could be an opportunity for people to visit these parts of the park through a special activity permit. 

The commission also voted to change the name of the park to Palouse Falls State Park Heritage Site as a way to acknowledge the cultural significance of the park.

READ: Walla Walla man rescued at Palouse Falls after being struck by ‘football size’ rock