Commissioner Of Public Lands
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Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public LandsPeter Goldmark
Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

As the elected Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark manages the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and administers a $625 million, two-year budget.

Peter chairs the state Board of Natural Resources, which sets policy for the management of state trust lands. These lands include some 3 million acres of publicly owned forests, agricultural and grazing lands, and commercial properties.

State lands raise millions of dollars each year to fund the construction of public schools, colleges, universities, and other government institutions, as well as county and state services. In fiscal year 2007 alone, the lands managed by DNR produced more than $209 million in revenue for trust beneficiaries.

The Department of Natural Resources also manages approximately 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, which include shorelines, tidelands, lands under Puget Sound and the coast, and navigable lakes and rivers and natural lakes, generating nearly $35 million per biennium.

Peter oversees the largest fire department in the state, protecting 12.7 million acres of non-federal land including private, state-owned, and tribal land from wildfires. He chairs the state Forest Practices Board, which sets regulations concerning private timber harvests, forest road building, and other forest operations.

DNR monitors cleanup and restoration efforts from mining operations, and assists communities by providing scientific information about earthquakes, landslides, and ecologically sensitive areas.

Peter Goldmark is the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889, and the fifth Commissioner to manage the Department of Natural Resources which was created in 1957. Peter's first four-year term began in January 2009. In November of 2012, voters reelected Peter to serve a second four-year term as Commissioner of Public Lands.

Peter Goldmark began his education in a one-room schoolhouse at Duley Lake near Okanogan, Washington. He graduated from Okanogan High School in Okanogan and in 1967 received a degree from Haverford College near Philadelphia. After receiving his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971, he traveled to Harvard University for a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology. Following his marriage in 1972, he moved back to Okanogan with his wife, Georgia. Together, they raised their five children on the family ranch. Sadly, Georgia succumbed to cancer in 2003.

Goldmark has had a lifelong involvement with agriculture, science, education, and public service. Included among his public service positions are the following:

  • Director of Agriculture for State of Washington, appointed by Governor Lowry in 1993
  • Chairman of the Governor's Council on Agriculture and the Environment in 1994-1996
  • Governor's Council for a Sustainable Washington in 2002-2003
  • Governor's Council on Biodiversity in 2004-2005
  • Founding board member and past Chairman of the Board of Farming and the Environment, a unique coalition of farmers, ranchers, and conservationists founded in 1999
  • Board of Regents of Washington State University, 1996-2005; President of the Board in 1999-2000
  • Board of the Washington State University-University of Washington William D. Ruckelshaus Center, 2003-present 
  • Okanogan School Board, 1998-2005
  • Wildland firefighter, Okanogan County, Fire District No. 8 - 30+ years

Goldmark maintains a small scientific research facility at his ranch and has published scientific articles in national and international journals. He currently maintains a wheat-breeding program at his facility and has recently released new varieties for Washington wheat farmers.

Goldmark and his wife, Wendy, split their time between their ranch in Okanogan and home in Olympia.

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Invite Commissioner Goldmark to a Meeting or Event
Thank you for inviting Commissioner Goldmark to your meeting or event. You will be notified of his availability, or if more time is needed to determine whether he can attend. His schedule can change quickly based on agency priorities and his responsibilities at the time. If a conflict occurs, you will be notified as soon as possible.

Please note that if your meeting or event is more than two months in advance, the date and time will be held as tentative and re-evaluated closer to the date.

If you have additional questions, please contact Kelli Parks at

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