That Multnomah Falls selfie could cost $300
Tourists are becoming trespassers as they attempt to snap the perfect selfie at Multnomah Falls, the U.S. Forest Service reports.
Chain-link fences have blocked access to the lower viewing platform and iconic Benson Bridge since foresters reopened the lodge at Multnomah Falls on Nov. 29.
But visitors — who don't want a fence blocking their snaps of the gushing cascade — keep slipping past the barriers set up behind the public plaza.
The Forest Service has slapped 19 violators with $300 fines, and issued another 200 or so warnings.
"We understand it can be tempting for folks to want to go to the falls and take pictures … but it's really important for folks to understand that there are post-fire hazards," Program Manager Amy Linn explained to KOIN 6 News, an Outlook media partner.
"Although these hazards may not be immediately obvious sometimes, especially since now it's not immediately visible, they are there and they're very serious," she continued.
While the Eagle Creek Wildfire is essentially extinguished in civilization-adjacent sections of the Columbia River Gorge, the risk remains for sudden landslides or collapsing trees.
It's not uncommon for government agencies to be sued after a recreationist is injured or killed by a falling tree — but try telling that to someone who traveled hundreds of miles and sees nary a whiff of smoke or fire.
"The fence is going to be in our pictures forever," Stephanie Ayala from California told KOIN. "It's like, 'Wait! It's not like your typical falls picture unfortunately.'"
"(I'm) planning to come back in the summer anyway, so I hope it's open by then," added tourist Maya Ramarkrishnan, who had hoped to hike to the top of the falls.
There's still no timeline for allowing more access to one of Oregon's top tourist destinations, officials say.