Archive for the ‘State Trust Land’ Category

Oh the weather outside is getting frightful – and to snow-lovers that’s so delightful!

January 2, 2015

With skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling just around the snowbank, now’s the time to start planning and preparing. Use our graphic (below) for tips to help you enjoy your favorite winter adventure on DNR-managed lands while preserving both Washington’s landscapes and yourself!

Safe and sustainable winter recreation

Follow these steps for safe and fun winter recreation on DNR-managed land.

One important winter tip is to plan in advance to keep from getting stymied by winter closures. Closures serve to protect trails and roads for summertime fun and/or to give wildlife a chance to eat without the presence of people stressing them out.

Darland Mountain

Snow-plastered white bark pines at Darland Mountain in Ahtanum State Forest. Photo: Donn Rasmusson/DNR


Check online or contact your region’s DNR office for closure info. (Hint: If you call, do so ahead of the weekend as we’re closed Saturdays and Sundays. And, use the opportunity to ask region staff for their recommended areas too.)



Northwest Region (Bellingham, Everett, Sedro Woolley) 360-856-3500

South Puget Sound Region (Olympia, Enumclaw, Seattle) 360-825-1631

Olympic Region (Olympic Peninsula, Forks, Ocean Shores) 360-374-2800

Pacific Cascade Region (Long Beach, Vancouver, Castle Rock) 360-577-2025

Southeast Region (Ellensburg, North Bend, Yakima) 509-925-8510

Northeast Region (Okanogan, Colville, Methow) 509-684-7474


DNR sustainably manages 3 million acres of state trust lands to earn revenue for trust beneficiaries (i.e. money for schools, hospitals, emergency services, and lots of other services Washingtonians need), provide wildlife habitat and help you access winter (and summer) outdoor adventures.


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Our “pick-six” blogs from 2014

January 1, 2015

Happy New YearHappy New Year! Here, in no particular order, are six blog posts from Ear to the Ground during 2014 that drew many views, social media mentions, shares and comments by you and our other readers. Enjoy!

‘Red Lizard’s Lair’ recovered by Quileute Tribe; authenticated by DNR

With nearly all of its pre-European-contact artifacts destroyed in an 1889 fire, Quileute tribal officials and elders were pleased with the discovery this year of an ancient petroglyph depicting an important Quileute legend.

Students’ innovation could change how we respond to fighting wildfires

Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected places. Say, for example, a handful of Olympia-area middle school students whose science and technology contest entries might someday help make wildland firefighting safer for helicopter pilots.

Region’s landmark mountain also is nation’s most dangerous volcano

Last May – Volcano Awareness Month – we portrayed each of our state’s five active volcanoes, including Mount Rainier, which is among the top ten most-dangerous volcanoes in the world.

Forces of Columbia River displayed on new map poster

A new poster-quality map issued by Washington and Oregon state geologists offers a look at the power of natural systems exposed by the path of the Columbia River.

Celebrate National Dog Day with DNR recreation opportunities

A national celebration urging responsible dog ownership is our ticket to promote responsible use of the hundreds of miles of trails open to hikers (and their pets) on state trust lands.

National Cat Day — We’ve got cats but don’t even think of petting one

The all-outdoor population of felines on DNR-managed trust lands includes cougars, bobcats, and the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) –- the rarest of the three cat species native to Washington state.

What do Washington state, the Wall Street Journal and Nintendo have in common?

December 29, 2014
Vincent School

Vincent School, in the Snoqualmie Valley near Carnation, Washington, was built by residents in 1905 and is typical of schools of the day, many of which were constructed with proceeds from state trust lands.

Washington state celebrated its 125th anniversary this year and, as we get ready to recycle our 2014 wall calendars, it’s a good time to reflect on the legacy that state trust lands have brought to our state. Among the benefits of being admitted to the Union back in 1889 was the federal government’s transfer of three million acres of trust land to the new state. That gift continues to give back to Washington residents. In fiscal year 2014 (which ended June 30, 2014), DNR’s management of state trust lands produced $120 million for public school construction and $75 million for county services.

Washington state, of course, was not the only entity that began in 1889 and remains a viable going concern. The year 1889 also saw the founding of Carhartt, Lee (jeans), the Wall Street Journal and Nintendo (originally a playing card company). Just as those companies brought a good return to their shareholders over time, we want Washington state trust lands to continue producing clean water, viable natural habitat and sustainable revenue for our state and you.

What are the origins of state trust land funding for schools and other institutions? Read more here

How does DNR produce revenue for schools from state trust lands? Learn about it here.

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Sorry, no Christmas tree cutting on state trust lands, but we know where you can find a tree (cheap)

November 28, 2014
Webster Nursery

Sorry, no Christmas trees here. About 8 million of the seedlings—like these Douglas fir—raised last year at DNR’s Webster Forest Nursery (shown here) were used to replant state trust lands after timber harvests. Another 2 million were purchased by private landowners for replanting after harvests. Photo: DNR.

We know that for many of you, going out into the woods to cut your own Christmas tree is a grand tradition. And while there are many lovely trees in state trust forests, DNR does not allow them to be cut down for Christmas trees. We don’t want to be Scrooges, but the trust forests in DNR’s care are intended for sustainably managed habitat, clean water, and revenue to the beneficiaries of state trusts, such as public schools, state universities, and public services, such as libraries and emergency medical services, in many counties.

When we hold timber auctions, we seek the highest return to fund these many trust beneficiaries, which means waiting until the trees reach maturity.

Fortunately, there are many places on federal lands where you can legally cut your own Christmas tree for a small fee. Contact your local US Forest Service Office, or support your local private tree farm:

National Forests

Private tree farms

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8 reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 27, 2014
volunteers building trails

Volunteers help keep DNR-managed recreation sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo: DNR.

Each year, volunteers of all ages put in thousands of hours helping DNR.

Their dedicated efforts and skills help us maintain and improve recreational sites, trails, natural areas, and other outdoor volunteer opportunities on the state trust lands we manage.

Some volunteers devote time every month; others pitch in a few hours here and there. Either way, we’re happy to get the help.

At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom to keep these invasive plants from overtaking trails and natural areas.
  2. Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
  3. Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
  4. Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
  5. Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
  6. Organized volunteer work parties.
  7. Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.
  8. …. and the many, many other activities that rely on the efforts of volunteers.

Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.

Got some time this winter? Plan to do some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back.

State trust lands: 125 years of building public schools for you

November 18, 2014
Ellensburg High School

Opened in 2005, the new Ellensburg High School was built partly with funds produced from state trust lands.

Last Tuesday, November 11, was the 125th anniversary of Washington statehood. Part of the legacy of gaining recognition as a state in 1889 is the three million acres of trust lands that the federal government transferred to Washington state. It’s a gift that continues to give back to Washington residents every day.

Providing gifts of land to support institutions dates to the Middle Ages in Europe. In the United States, as far back as 1785, Section 16 of each township was reserved as a “school section” to provide funding and a central location for schools, so no child would have to travel too far to school. (In the U.S. Public Land Survey System, survey townships are one-mile square; 36 sections equal one township.)

As new states joined the union, Congress provided land grants to each. The federal Enabling Act of 1889 granted Washington state lands in Section 16 and 36 of most townships. (more…)

National Cat Day — We’ve got cats but don’t even think of petting one

October 29, 2014
male Canada lynx

Blends right in, doesn’t he? This male Canada lynx is one of about 50 that remain in Washington state. Photo: DNR

It’s National Cat Day! We’ve got lots of cats but don’t even think about petting one. DNR has an all-outdoor population of felines living on the millions of acres of state trust lands we manage… and none of them are ‘fixed!’ Many of these felines in our care are cougars and bobcats, but one cat in particular—the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)–is worthy of special attention because it is the rarest of the three cat species native to Washington state. Perhaps fewer than 50 Canada lynx remain in Washington.

With their large feet and long legs, lynx are well designed for hunting in their native ranges: the mountains of north-central and northeastern Washington. Unfortunately, the continuity of this forest landscape has become fragmented over the decades, which has contributed to declines in the numbers of snowshoe hares–a primary food source for the lynx. Since 1996, we’ve been following our Lynx Habitat Management Plan—one of the most comprehensive conservation plans for lynx in the United States. We use this plan to guide forest activities in an effort to create and preserve high-quality lynx habitat.

To better understand of how lynx use certain habitats throughout the year, and how past and future land management has affected them, DNR works with other agencies, including the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, each winter to track and capture the lynx, put radio collars on them (for GPS tracking) and examine and chart their health.

Read more about Washington native wildcats and get some important safety tips about the dos and don’ts of living in cougar country

Cultural heritage is all around us in the forest

September 15, 2014
Cedar tree used for bark harvest

Cedar tree used by Native Americans for a bark harvest. Note the scarring at the top of the photo. Photo: DNR

Woodlands provide a home for plants and animals, but they’re also home to the remains of past uses. Whether it’s an old well, homestead, railroad or a Tribal site, these cultural and historical resources on the land tell the story of our past – a tangible link to the people and events that shaped our shared history, communities and ourselves.

Most small landowners are willing to identify and protect cultural resources, but may not know how to go about doing so. They may also lack the financial resources to develop an organized and consistent approach to identifying and protecting the sites.

Both DNR’s stewardship foresters and Washington State University (WSU) Extension foresters can help private woodland owners develop forest stewardship plans that include steps to protect these resources. Addressing these resources in a stewardship plan also helps ensure that the plan meets state and federal laws that protect our cultural and historic resources. To find out more, go to the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation or contact the office by phone at (360) 586-3065. For more information on the state’s Forest Practices Rules and to find out which Tribes are in your area, contact your closest DNR Region Office.

Two helpful resources about protecting cultural resources in the forest come from the 2012 Cultural Resources Workshop sponsored by the Quinault Indian Nation and Washington Forest Protection Association, and from the American Tree Farm Systems webinar Archeology in Your Woods.

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Mountain bikers rejoice: New trail opens tomorrow in east Tiger Mountain State Forest (with more to come!)

August 29, 2014

Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Mountain biker enjoying the new Off-the-Grid Trail in Tiger Mountain State Forest. Photo: Robin Fay.

DNR opens a new trail for mountain biking tomorrow (Saturday, August 30) in Tiger Mountain State Forest near North Bend. The area, located just off of I-90, east of Seattle, is open to visitors from dawn to dusk.

The addition of the new 2.5-mile-long Off-the-Grid Trail brings the forest’s mountain bike trail system to approximately 15 miles, making this area even more attractive to enthusiasts of the sport.

DNR carefully designed the new trail, with input from the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, to avoid erosion, habitat damage, and other negative impacts to the environment. Built by DNR with a lot of help from Puget SoundCorps crews and volunteers, the Off-the-Grid Trail features rock gardens, berms, rollers, and 120 feet of elevated boardwalk. If you aren’t familiar with those mountain bike terms, come out and see for yourself (but bring your helmet), and get Off-the-Grid.

Download a map of the new Off-the-Grid Trail.

More trails to come
Even better news for mountain bikers in the Northwest is that DNR will soon add more mountain biking trails in Tiger Mountain State Forest thanks to funding from Washington state’s Nonhighway and Off-Road Vehicle Activities Program. Construction, with help from Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, has just started on a new descent trail for advanced riders. Work begins this fall on a climbing trail that will allow bikers to reach other trails without the need to use the forest’s road system.

Discover Pass Discover Pass logo
Remember to grab a Discover Pass to keep your recreation opportunities on DNR-managed land available season after season.

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DNR to reopen Naneum State Forest this Friday

August 26, 2014

Naneum RidgeThe Naneum Ridge State Forest is scheduled to reopen at 8 a.m. this Friday. The western half of the state forest has been closed since August 4 due to the Snag Canyon Fire, north of Ellensburg. In recent days, fire suppression efforts in the area have reduced the risks to firefighter and public safety.

Although the forest will reopen, a ban on campfires remains in effect. If you are planning to set up a back country camp, plan on using any of the following permitted devices:

  • Liquid gas stoves and propane stoves that do not use solid briquettes.
  • Camp stoves and lanterns with attached pressurized gas canisters.
  • Solid fuel and citronella candles in metal or glass containers.
  • Propane gas camp stoves.

When hunting in the forest, please use caution. There may still be firefighters in the area.

Before you head out, check out the Forest Road Survival Guide for helpful tips on staying safe on forest roads.

For daily updates on burn restrictions, call 1-800-323-BURN 24 hours a day or visit DNR’s Fire Danger and Outdoor Burning webpage to view fire conditions and burning restrictions for each county in Washington state.



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