Burney Falls is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Northern California. The 129-foot waterfall, once dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by President Theodore Roosevelt, was recently featured in both National Geographic and Conde Naste. Now, park officials have indicated that the growing influx in visitors is causing issues at the state park.
Before Covid, the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park in Shasta County received approximately 4,000 visitors a day. That number has more than tripled, with crowds growing to over 13,000 a day. With the added visitors has come traffic and litter issues from people parking along Highway 89. With people walking along the highway, there are also increased dangers for both visitors and cars passing by.
Since the Covid pandemic sent many residents away from their usual hobbies of visiting restaurants, bars and other indoor activities, outdoor destinations have been inundated with visitors, many of whom don’t understand the etiquette of the outdoors. Destinations like Lake Tahoe have seen a growing number of visitors from city areas, causing a massive spike in litter. In fact, Tahoe recently asked visitors to take a pledge to help keep the area pristine this summer.
Issues also arose at nearby Hatchet Creek Falls, which was closed by the property owner after a spike in litter and a growing number of car break ins at the parking lot. It has stayed closed to the public since July 2020.
Meanwhile, waterfalls, lakes and other outdoor destinations are sure to see a rise in visitation this summer. Some are well equipped to handle such an influx. Others may have to put a cap on visitation numbers as issues arise. If you plan on venturing into the NorCal wilderness this year, please take a look at and follow the principles of Leave No Trace.