Outdoor Access and Responsible Recreation Strategic Plan

A mountaintop stands above a meadow with noble firs in the middle distance in the Morningstar Natural Resources Conservation Area.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, and 97 natural areas covering nearly 170,000 acres. These lands include 1,300 miles of  designated trails and more than 160 recreation sites, including 80 campgrounds. 
DNR has adopted 10 landscape-level recreation plans but does not have a statewide recreation plan that sets priorities for recreation management and outdoor access. Following a 21 percent increase in visitation from 2019 to 2020, a trend that is expected to continue, the agency is developing the Outdoor Access and Responsible Recreation Strategic Plan, a statewide road map to guide future landscape-level planning and ensure natural, cultural, and tribal resources are respected and protected throughout the state, while offering high-quality, accessible recreation opportunities. 

Plan Overview

The intent of the strategic plan is to develop a shared vision and strategy for recreation and outdoor access on DNR-managed lands. It will guide decision-making for future management practices and ensure DNR-managed lands provide sustainable, diverse, and high-quality outdoor access and recreation opportunities that enrich the quality of life in Washington state.
A key part of this work will be to articulate what responsible and sustainable use of DNR-managed lands looks like for generations to come, and to ensure that all outdoor users understand and practice conservation and responsible use. The final strategic plan will be used to guide and support legislative and budget requests over the next 10 years and set agency priorities for recreation management.

Draft Purpose Statement and Goals

The draft purpose statement for the strategic plan is to develop a shared vision for outdoor access to and responsible recreation on all DNR-managed lands, that protects natural and cultural resources, so that tribes may exercise their rights, including tribal cultural and spiritual practices, while also providing sustainable, diverse, and high-quality recreational opportunities that fosters engagement from all communities, promote a strong sense of environmental stewardship, and enrich the quality of life in Washington, consistent with the Multiple Use Act and DNR's legal and management framework.
The draft goals for the strategic plan are to:
  1. Conserve and enhance the environment and cultural resources
  2. Cultivate a stewardship and responsibility ethic through user education and engagement
  3. Improve equitable access
  4. Respect all rights and involve all user groups in future planning
  5. Secure financial stability for management, operations, infrastructure, and stewardship
  6. Mitigate climate impacts and build resilience

Engagement Process Overview

DNR is engaging with Tribes, state-trust beneficiaries, recreation partners and stakeholders, and the public to collect input on the development of the OARR Strategic Plan.

Engagement to Date

In 2023, the Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz made a commitment to co-develop the OARR Strategic Plan in partnership with Tribes. Following input from Tribes at the July 2023 DNR Tribal Summit, DNR held four regional tribal forums across the state in September and October with the goal to develop the purpose statement and goals of the OARR Strategic Plan together. 
DNR also kicked off engagement with statewide recreation partners at a July workshop, and with the Board of Natural Resources, which represents state-trust beneficiaries, in the summer of 2023.
DNR hosted five public planning meetings in January and February 2024, both in-person and virtually. At each meeting, DNR shared information about the OARR Plan, reviewed the high-level draft goals DNR has developed to frame the plan, and invited participants to provide input on how goals can be achieved and what should be addressed. Meeting summaries for each meeting will be available at this page as soon as they are finalized. Links to TVW recordings of the virtual meetings can be found under "Documents" further down on this page.


DNR is targeting release of a final OARR Strategic Plan by the end of 2024. Tribes and the public will have an opportunity to learn about and comment on a draft plan before a final version is released.


If you would like to receive updates regarding public meetings or other ways to engage, please sign up for updates or email OARRPlan@dnr.wa.gov





*Please note that the OARR planning process has changed since these initial presentations were given based on feedback from Tribes to reflect DNR's commitment to co-manage the Plan's development.

Public Engagement

Interested Parties 

*Please note that the OARR planning process has changed since these initial presentations were given based on feedback from Tribes to reflect DNR's commitment to co-manage the Plan's development.