Guidelines for Utilizing DNR Lands in Washington
Overview of DNR Lands
- Management: The Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages three million acres of state trust land.
- Purpose: These lands serve dual purposes - generating income for public institutions and providing habitat for wildlife.
- Recreation: They offer various recreational activities like camping, hunting, and fishing.
Conservation and Management Responsibilities
- DNR focuses on supporting wildlife habitats and maintaining water quality.
- Healthy habitats are crucial for sustaining fish and wildlife populations.
Best Practices for Hunters and Fishers
- Vehicle Use: Keep vehicles on roads, avoiding streams and wetlands.
- Weed Control: Check vehicles for weeds to prevent the spread that can harm native vegetation.
- Firewood Collection: Obtain a permit before cutting firewood; use snags for wildlife habitat rather than firewood.
- Camping Etiquette: Maintain cleanliness at campsites with a 'pack it in, pack it out' approach.
- Tree Stands: Use only those tree stands that do not cause permanent damage to trees.
- Road Conditions: Be mindful of road conditions; damage can lead to closures.
- Landowner Approval: Seek approval for accessing DNR lands without public access.
- Gate Protocol: Leave all gates as found - open gates stay open, closed gates remain closed.
- Discover Pass Requirement: A Discover Pass is mandatory for hunting, fishing, or recreating on DNR-managed lands.
Prescribed Burns and Their Impact on Hunting in Washington
Overview of Prescribed Burns
Prescribed burns are an essential management tool used by public land managers in Washington, where nearly 20 million acres of public land exist, including approximately one million managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). These controlled fires play a crucial role in several key areas:
- Public Safety: Reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires.
- Wildlife Habitat Improvement: Enhancing the quality of habitat for various wildlife species.
- Landscape Resilience: Making the landscape more resilient to fire.
- Enhanced Recreational Experience: Improving the overall experience for those using public lands.
Timing of Prescribed Burns
- Seasonal Window: Prescribed burns are typically conducted in a narrow window during spring and fall when conditions are optimal - cool weather yet not excessively wet.
- Overlap with Hunting Seasons: This window often coincides with hunting seasons, which requires hunters to be mindful of potential burn areas.
Hunting on Public Lands During Burns
- Research Before Hunting: Hunters planning to use public lands should conduct thorough research in advance to ensure their chosen hunting spot is not within a burn area.
- Partial Area Burns: Generally, prescribed burns cover only a portion of the public land area, leaving a significant amount of huntable land available nearby.
- Understanding and Patience: WDFW acknowledges the inconvenience caused by these burns during hunting seasons and appreciates the patience and understanding of the hunting community.
Additional Resources and Reporting
- Information Access: Visit www.dnr.wa.gov for the nearest DNR office and further guidance.
- Reporting Violations: Report any observed abuse to help preserve public land access.