DNR Closing Public Lands to Recreation Activities

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In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, all public lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources (nearly 6 million acres) will be closed to the public through at least April 8.

DNR Closing Public Lands to Recreation ActivitiesOLYMPIA – The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the closure of all DNR-managed lands to the public. The closure goes into effect tomorrow – Thursday, March 26 – and will last through at least April 8.

This step is a continuation of the agency’s efforts to protect people by stemming the spread of the coronavirus. On Monday, the agency, along with the State Department of Parks and Recreation and State Department of Fish and Wildlife, closed all campgrounds across the state through April 30.

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads DNR, issued the following statement:

“This was not an easy decision. We treasure our forests and trails and beaches as places of rejuvenation and refuge from the chaos of daily life. But, I cannot ignore the unfortunate reality of what we saw this weekend: crowded trails, people shoulder to shoulder, and large gatherings. This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making in order to adhere to social distancing. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting epidemic.

“This behavior also makes clear that, while we have taken drastic measures, we have not done enough when it comes to closing areas where large crowds gather and communicating the importance of staying at home and avoiding physical contact with others.

“The disruptions we are experiencing are difficult and challenging – and unprecedented in our lifetimes. But they are necessary. We must bend the curve. And if we all do our part, these temporary disruptions will save countless lives.”


Additional Resources

  • You can find more frequently asked questions here: www.dnr.wa.gov/closure
    (plain text version available at the bottom of release)


About DNR Recreation

Led by the Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR manages 1,200 miles of trails and 160-plus recreation sites in 3 million acres of working forest state trust lands and 92 natural areas. DNR trust lands keep forests development-free, provide clean water, and generate revenue for public services and school construction.

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