PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Anyone hoping to drive to visit the popular 18-mile “Waterfall Corridor” in the Columbia River Gorge this summer will need to reserve a timed-access ticket in advance.
Officials from Multnomah County, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department released more information about the pilot ticket program they’re launching this year. A new Timed Use Permit system will go into effect May 24 for any personal vehicles hoping to travel the Waterfall Corridor in the Columbia River Gorge.
Anyone traveling in private vehicles hoping to access federal lands along the Waterfall Corridor will be required to make a reservation in advance on Recreation.gov for the time they plan to visit. The permits will be required from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all days between May 24 and September 5.
The Waterfall Corridor spans between the Bridal Veil off-ramp on Interstate 84 (Exit 28) and Ainsworth State Park (Exit 35).
The tickets are expected to cost $2 per vehicle, according to a March report by the Portland Tribune.
Officials say the permit system is meant to create a more reliable, safe, predictable and enjoyable experience for all users visiting trailheads, waterfalls and viewpoints. They say the permits will spread visitation throughout the day and will hopefully encourage more people to travel along through the Gorge on days when visitation tends to be lower.
The permits are also meant to create more space on the road for people who are cycling and improve the on-time reliability for shuttle buses.
“Our community raised concerns about congestion in the Gorge,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann. “The strain on our ecosystem and infrastructure requires an approach that balances sustainability with recreation and tourism. This pilot represents how multiple governmental agencies can come together to develop a solution for our residents and visitors.”
Officials say busy summer days in the Gorge can cause vehicle backups, which delay emergency response times and cause frustration for visitors.
Between 2011 and 2016 visits to National Forest System lands in the Waterfall Corridor increased 35% with a corresponding increase in traffic.
The Multnomah Falls Timed Use Permits will also be enforced again from May 24 through September 5, 2022.
Both the Waterfall Corridor and Multnomah Falls Timed Use Permits may be reserved on Recreation.gov starting May 10.
Visitors who use the shuttle or who travel the area by bicycle do not need the Timed Use Permit.