In accordance with the governor’s extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, all state lands will continue to be closed to the public through May 4.
OLYMPIA – April 3, 2020 – The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced the extended closure of state lands to the public through May 4. The closure coincides with the extension of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, ” order.
This action is a continuation of the state’s efforts to protect residents by stemming the spread of the coronavirus. This extension will apply to all camping on state lands, boat launches and water access sites, wildlife areas, and day-use recreation areas.
“The decision to extend the closure of public lands was an extremely difficult one. I share the sense of disconnection and loss that we are all feeling by not being able to be out in nature,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads DNR. “Our trails, campgrounds and outdoor spaces are core to who we are in the Washington, but this temporary sacrifice is necessary to turn the tide and protect our loved ones and neighbors. We have the responsibility to do what we must to save as many lives as possible.”
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind added, “We know many Washingtonians find great solace in spending time on the water or in the wilderness, and we are taking these painful steps only because of the urgent need to protect the health and well-being of our neighbors and communities.”
WDFW anticipates additional fishing and hunting season announcements on Monday, April 6. Updates will be shared at wdfw.wa.gov.
“We understand and appreciate the hardship the park’s closure has on the outdoor-recreating public,” said Parks Director Don Hoch. “Most of our staff work for Parks because of their passion for the outdoors, and many of them have had to be reassigned to indoor work during this crisis. We all need to do whatever we can to help contain the spread of this virus. That means postponing a trip to a state park and staying home and staying healthy.”
Campers who have state parks reservations through May 4 will be notified and offered a full refund. Visitors can find the latest information about State Park operations at parks.state.wa.us/COVID19.
People should continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene when outdoors and continue to stay as close to home as possible. The agencies will continue to monitor this issue and will keep you updated to the latest updates.
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. For recreation updates visit https://www.dnr.wa.gov/recreation. See additional DNR operational notices related to COVID-19 by following this link: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/slider.
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife actively manages about one million acres of land, with 33 wildlife areas and nearly 500 water access sites around the state. These public lands help sustain wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities for current and future generations. WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.
NEWS MEDIA CONTACTS
Paige DeChambeau, DNR
Recreation Communications Manager
Cell: (360) 790-1886
Rachel Blomker, WDFW
Toni Droscher, Parks
News release number: 20-021