How Do I Request public records?
Washington law requires state and local agencies to make public records available to the public. This law, the Washington State Public Records Act RCW 42.56, supports the public’s right to be informed about what their government is doing.
The Act also lists certain public records that do not have to be disclosed. These exemptions are intended to prevent unreasonable invasions of personal privacy or the use of public records for personal or commercial gain.
The Act also requires that the public records requested are “identifiable.” Your public records disclosure request must include a reasonable description that would allow a DNR employee to locate the records. A general question is not a public disclosure request.
Here’s how to request a public record from DNR:
Step 1: Get the Request for Public Record form
- E-mail your request for a Public Record to: email@example.com
- Download the request form from the DNR website as a pdf or word document.
If you have trouble downloading the form, want a paper copy mailed to you or have more questions please e-mail us: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 360-902-1393.
Step 2: Complete the form
After filling out the form (electronically or by hand):
- Return it by e-mail to: email@example.com
- Return it by mail to:
Public Records Administrator
Washington Department of Natural Resources
1111 Washington Street SE
PO Box 47014
Olympia, WA 98504-7014
- Return it by FAX to: 360-902-1789 ATTN: Public Records Administrator
Please be sure to identify on the form the records or documents you are requesting in enough detail that a DNR employee can locate them.
Please include your name, mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address on the form in case we have questions about the information you want.
Step 3: Be aware of the exemptions to public records disclosure
The Washington State Public Records Act RCW 42.56 states that certain records are exempt from disclosure. These exemptions are intended to prevent unreasonable invasions of personal privacy or the use of public records for personal or commercial gain. They include:
- Information about agency personnel, such as social security numbers, home phone numbers, home addresses, resumes and employment applications.
- Records relating to current investigation.
- Communication between agency staff and the Attorney General's Office.
- Information about threatened and endangered wildlife species
- Specific locations of Historical and Archaeological sites
- Specific data regarding valuation of real estate appraisals
- Information that if released would constitute an invasion of privacy as defined in (RCW 42.56.210).
Step 4: Note costs for paper records
There is no charge for record requests that are up to 40 pages.
DNR charges the following fees for copying and mailing more than 40 pages of documents:
- Letter- and legal-sized documents: $0.15/page
- 11"x17" size documents: $0.50/page
- Certified copies: $5
- Postage: At cost for mailing requested materials
DNR will calculate any copying costs and notify you of the charge in advance.