Kayakers plan clean up of scenic Eagle Falls

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

SULTAN, Wash. -- A cold and heavy downpour didn't make for the best conditions to kayak, but Rob McKibbin put in anyway in one of his favorite spots in Western Washington.

"I don't know if I can put it into words," he said. "It's just beautiful. It's amazing."

Rob ran the rapids at Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River near Sultan. When he got to the end of the run, however, his reward left a lot to be desired.

"It's disappointing," he said. "I'm not surprised, but it is disappointing."

Rob was greeted by gorgeous granite rocks that have been defaced with graffiti. Towering cliffs and ancient stone were covered with spray paint. Whatever garbage hadn't already been washed down river sat strewn on its banks.

As more people have found out about the scenic spot, it has become prime real estate for graffiti, garbage, drinking, and all of the other messes that go along with them.

"When I want to take my child here, it's embarrassing," said fellow kayaker Christian Knight.

Christian has been coming to Eagle Falls for the better part of the past two decades. He has been the problem grow worse over the last three years. Up to 100 people will gather at the swimming hole on a sunny summer afternoon to hang out and party. A small number of them end up doing a large amount of damage.

"I've seen what I would otherwise consider an upstanding individual break a bottle of beer and then leave it," said Christian.

Christian said the National Forest Service needs to do more to manage the land, provide bathrooms and garbage bins. Until that happens, though, he is planning a major clean-up of Eagle Falls on one of those sunny summer days, next August.

People from as far away as Chelan will scrub away graffiti, pick up trash and try to make people think.

"We want to create a culture that protects this place," he said.

"This type of beauty doesn't need any kind of interference from somebody else," added Rob, referencing graffiti artists and taggers.  "It's perfect on its own."

Copyright 2016 KING


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