Disability Designation and Accessibility in Washington State
Washington State provides disability designations and accessibility options to ensure that individuals with permanent disabilities can enjoy recreational activities and access department lands. Here are the key details:
WDFW Disability Status:
A person with a disability in Washington is defined as someone with a permanent physical or developmental disability that significantly impairs their ability to participate in recreational activities or access department lands. This status is described in WAC 220-200-160.
Accessibility WAC Rules:
Various rules related to disability accessibility can be found in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), including WAC 220-200-160, WAC 220-200-170, WAC 220-200-180, WAC 220-200-190, WAC 220-413-140, and WAC 220-413-210. These rules ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to recreational opportunities.
Disabled Hunter Program:
A hunter with a disability is a person who has received a disability designation and has been issued a valid disabled hunter endorsement on their hunting license by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The disabled hunter may also receive a designated hunter companion card, allowing a licensed hunter to assist the disabled hunter with physical functions they cannot perform. Specific regulations apply, such as restrictions on possessing loaded firearms in motor vehicles and using crossbows during certain seasons.
Special Use Permits:
Special use permits issued by WDFW provide limited, specific exceptions to recreational activities, services, equipment, or regulations for individuals with permanent disability designations. These permits are processed through the Licensing Division. More information can be found in WAC 220-200-170 or on the Special Use Permit Program website.
Road Access Entry Program:
This program offers accessibility modifications for hunters with mobility disabilities, those unable to walk 200 feet, or those medically prescribed the use of assistive devices for mobility (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers). Access roads are identified with signage at gated entry points. Hunters drawn for access will receive permits for entry. The program is a collaboration between WDFW, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), private timber companies, and private landowners.
Disabled Trapper Program:
Similar to the Disabled Hunter Program, the Disabled Trapper Program grants a disability designation and a valid disabled hunter endorsement on a trapper's license for those with disabilities.
Other Accessibility Options:
Additional accessibility options are available, including special deer and elk permit drawings, accessible waterfowl blinds on public and private lands, regional program modifications, and accessible facilities. The Private Lands Access Program provides access to 1.8 million acres of private land for hunting.
For inquiries or to request a Hunter/Fisher Disability Status or Special Use Permit application, you can contact the WDFW Licensing Division at (360) 902-2464 or use the TTY service for hearing impaired individuals at 711. For wildlife-related questions, call (360) 902-2515, and for hunter education questions, call (360) 902-8111.