National Wildfire Preparedness Day is May 7

May 3, 2016
"Chelan Fires; First Creek Fire, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, WA, 2015; burn operation in Morning Sun Estates"

Chelan Fires 2015; burn operation in Morning Sun Estates Photo by Kari Greer

What are you doing this Saturday, May 7? Why not challenge your neighborhood to develop their defenses against future wildfires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are approximately 98 million people in our nation who live in wildfire country. That puts about 45 million homes at risk to wildfire-maybe even yours.

What can you do?

Start with your own home and property by raking leaves, clearing vegetation away from your house, removing dead branches, cleaning out gutters, and mowing grass regularly. But don’t stop there. Also, commit a few hours, or an entire day, to preparing your neighborhood to be a safe place to live.

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day provides an opportunity for people of all ages to participate in a risk reduction or preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. Projects can involve just a few people, or a large group. Increase risk awareness and bring neighbors together to improve your area’s preparedness and resiliency. It’s one way neighbors can care for each other.

Let’s work together to reduce the number communities and families whose lives get turned upside down when wildfires happen. Learn what DNR has to offer for preparing for wildfire.

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May is the time to make sure you know where you’re a-gonna go when the volcano blows

May 1, 2016


May is Washington’s Volcano Preparedness Month, and DNR has all you need to know about how the stunning mammoths dominating much of our skyline handle the geothermal pressure bubbling below.

Washington is home to five major composite volcanoes or stratovolcanoes (from north to south): Mount Baker,Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. These volcanoes and Mount Hood to the south in Oregon are part of the Cascade Range, a volcanic arc that stretches from southwestern British Columbia to northern California. If you want to check them out, take along DNR’s five-day field trip guide of the Cascade volcanoes.

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Mark your calendar for the 14th annual Pick Up the Burn

April 30, 2016

In preparation for summer, ORV riders, hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders are getting together in the Yacolt Burn State Forest for the 14th annual Pick up the Burn work party. In partnership with DNR, volunteers will be picking up litter and caring for the 90,000-acre forest’s campgrounds and trails.

Take a look at volunteer contributions from last year’s event with our video, below:

Want to get involved?

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 7, 2016

Yacolt Burn State Forest

Meet at the Jones Creek ORV trailhead

Getting there

  • Start in Camas at junction with SR-14. Go N on SR-500 for 3.8 miles to Fern Prairie
  • Turn right on NE 19th St. and go .8 miles.
  • Turn right on NE Reilly Rd., which becomes NE 292 Ave. Go 1.9 miles.
  • Turn right on NE Ireland Rd.
  • Go .2 miles, turn left on NE Lessard Rd. At 2 miles, pavement ends.
  • Continue on gravel road for 1.6 miles to trailhead.

For more information visit our event listing.

See our website to learn more about volunteering with DNR.

Want to stay in-the-loop with DNR’s recreation program? Subscribe to our  monthly e-newsletter.

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Trees: a timeless gift to the future

April 29, 2016
Commissioner Goldmark shows kids how to plant a tree for National Arbor Day.

Commissioner Goldmark shows kids how to plant a tree for National Arbor Day.

Today is National Arbor Day, and we begin a new age with the planting of a western red cedar.

With help from Capitol Campus Child Care kids, Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark helped plant a young western red cedar today on the state’s Capitol Campus. It replaces a nearly 100 years old large western red cedar that was removed due to public safety concerns.

Prior to the tree being taken down, the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes paid tribute. They blessed the tree with a traditional ceremony, invoking their deep cultural and spiritual connection with western red cedars throughout the ages.

The planting of new trees is not always for ourselves, but for the next generation who will continue to steward our state’s natural resources. For each new tree planted in our community is an investment towards less pollution in our waterways, resilient property values, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife, clean drinking water, and high quality of life in our neighborhoods.

DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is working with communities statewide to care and maintain urban forests. You can find out more about the care of trees by talking with a certified arborist or visiting DNR’s website at

Learn more about the benefits of trees on the Arbor Day Foundation webpage.

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Improvements liftoff thanks to paragliding, hangliding volunteers

April 27, 2016

With the help of DNR, North Cascade Soaring Club volunteers and a crew with Washington Conservation Corps joined together to add fill to the west launch at Samish Overlook, a popular paragliding and hangliding launch near Bellingham. Thanks to their efforts, launching pilots will have safer, smoother takeoffs via a short trail from DNR’s day-use area, which also provides access to a network of hiking trails on Blanchard Mountain.

The project came about when trees down below grew tall enough to impact wind patterns and begin concerning the gliders taking off above them. While the initial thought was to cut the trees down, a better solution soon emerged. With funds provided by North Cascade Soaring Club, DNR worked with the group to raise the launch, which allows the trees to continue growing to maturity.

As is true for most state forests, the revenue from these trees supports public services, in this case Skagit County, Medic One, the Port of Skagit, and United General Hospital as well as the Burlington-Edison School District. Finding creative solutions like this is one of the ways DNR works to fulfill its responsibility to beneficiaries of Washington while providing fun and varied recreation opportunities.

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This continues a lasting partnership with North Cascade Soaring Club volunteers, who have an adopt-a-site agreement for the Samish Overlook and work with DNR to care for recreation opportunities at Samish Overlook.

Learn more
At an elevation of 1,300 feet, DNR’s Samish Overlook provides sweeping views of the San Juan Islands and Skagit Valley. Located near Bow, the overlook offers opportunities for hikers, paragliders, hang gliders, horseback riders, and mountain bikers — and makes for a nice picnic spot, too. It provides northern access to Oyster Dome, a popular hike with tough elevation gain and views of the ocean.

For more information about giving back to DNR-managed lands, visit our website. View our calendar to find an event near you that suits what you’d like to do.

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Happy Native Plant Appreciation Week

April 25, 2016

Blooms of blue camas and golden paintbrush, a rare native plant federally listed as “threatened” and state listed as “endangered”, at Rocky Prairie NAP. Photo by: Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark/DNR.

This week, April 23 – May 1, is a celebration of the amazing diversity of Washington’s native plant species.

The different climates found in Washington allow for a vast variety of native plants, from sword ferns to cacti, to the many species that call prairies, forests, and shrub-steppe home.

There are good reasons for concern about Washington’s biological diversity – more than 20 percent of the state’s native plant species are rare, threatened or endangered. The best way to preserve these species is for citizens, landowners, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations to work together to conserve the lands on which the plants grow.

One example is DNR’s Natural Areas Program. DNR actually manages two types of natural areas – Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) and Natural Areas Preserves (NAP). Some have interpretive trails and many provide low-impact activities, like hiking.

Take time this week to check out the native flowers in your area, and celebrate the natural native beauty of Washington’s great outdoors in honor of Native Plant Appreciation Week.

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Eight great ways DNR gives thanks on Earth Day

April 22, 2016



Mount Adams towers over the Trout Lake Natural Area Preserve, which is managed by DNR. Photo: DNR

On Earth Day and every day, DNR celebrates its work protecting, conserving and ensuring responsible use of the planet’s natural resources. It’s in our name.

As manager of 5.6 million acres of Washington, DNR’s business is in the earth. Through sustainable management of Washington’s natural resources, DNR has generated more than $8 billion for schools and communities since the first Earth Day in 1970.

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Wild history of Olympic Peninsula rivers shown on new map

April 20, 2016


As the Olympic Mountains have formed over the past 40 million years they have become Washington’s windshield, catching storms that bring more than 180 inches of precipitation every year. Five rivers do most of the work of draining all that rain and snow from the mountains. .

Using lidar data, DNR’s Division of Geology and Earth Resources has developed a stunning new map to show how the Quinault, Queets, Hoh, Bogachiel, Quillayute and Sol Duc rivers have carved paths to carry runoff from the peaks through the dense Olympic Peninsula vegetation and back to the Pacific Ocean. DNR’s talented GIS cartographer Daniel Coe used data from past lidar scans to show how the floodplains of these rivers has changed over milennia.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Great M7.8 San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906

April 19, 2016

Washington State Geology News

110 years later, why the San Francisco Earthquake still matters

damage5.gif Wreckage of buildings from the M7.8 San Francisco earthquake. (from University of Nebraska at Lincoln Gallery of the Open Frontier)

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was one of the most important geologic events of our time. Shaking damage destroyed many buildings, but it was the fires caused by severed gas lines during the earthquake that caused the city to burn for days after the shaking had stopped. More than 3,000 people are estimated to have died as a result, as well as 225,000 survivors left homeless by the 28,000 buildings that were destroyed. Check out the photo collections in these archives.

The earthquake itself was significant at an M7.8, but the damage it caused put into motion more intense focus on the study of earthquakes. This disaster spurred a movement for more scientific study of the geology and fault systems in California and…

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Hurray for Arbor Day; do you live in a ‘Tree City USA’?

April 13, 2016
Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Kids plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.

Today is Arbor Day, a celebration of trees and all the great things they do for us in “The Evergreen State.” Washington State Arbor Day is always celebrated on the second Wednesday, April 13 this year as proclaimed by Governor Jay Inslee.

However, Arbor Day is more than just a celebration of trees. It’s a celebration of responsible natural resource management.

Salmon streams that DNR protects in native forestlands flow out of the foothills, across the landscape, and ultimately through one or more of Washington’s cities. Urban areas are where streams, shellfish beds, and fragile nearshore habitats are most threatened by stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation, toxic pollutants, low oxygen levels, and climate fluctuations.

As foresters, we recognize that trees are erosion reducers, pollution mitigators, water purifiers, climate stabilizers, and carbon sinks. The practice of forestry in cities offers practical, low-cost, natural resource-based solutions to many environmental problems that affect our daily lives in Washington. Planting a tree in a city is an act restoration. Caring for urban trees is an act of stewardship. Cultivating an urban forest is natural resource management.

Sixty percent of Washingtonians live in an incorporated municipality, and approximately 90 percent of the State’s population lives in an area identified as “urban” by the 2010 census. There are 87 Tree City USA Communities in Washington and nearly 50 percent of Washington’s population lives in a Tree City USA.

Tree City USA is a national award from the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes cities and towns for making a commitment to plant, protect, and maintain their trees. At DNR we celebrate Arbor Day in partnership with local communities across the state that have earned the Tree City USA® award. Find out if your city is a Tree City USA, as there may be special programs to celebrate trees in your community this month.

If your city isn’t part of the Tree City USA Program, contact your city officials to help them plan Arbor Day celebrations next year. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Tree City USA® provides technical assistance and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities.

DNR provides assistance and support to many forest landowners, including Washington’s cities and towns. The agency’s work in urban forestry helps protect natural resources, engage urban residents in forest stewardship, and preserve the environmental character of our state.

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