Outdoor Access and Responsible Recreation Strategic Plan
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. This includes 1,300 miles of 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. 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 to ensure natural, cultural, and tribal resources are respected and protected throughout the state, while offering high-quality, accessible recreation opportunities.
The intent of the strategic plan is to develop a shared vision for recreation and outdoor access on DNR-managed lands that provides diverse and high-quality recreational opportunities that foster engagement from all communities, promotes a strong sense of environmental stewardship, and enriches 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 land looks like for generations to come, to ensure that all outdoor users understand and practice preservation and responsible use. The final plan will be used to support legislative and budget requests and set agency priorities for recreation management over the next 10 years.
DNR will develop a plan around the following draft goals, developed with input from tribes and stakeholders:
- Preserve and protect the natural environment and cultural resources
- Build an outdoor stewardship and responsibility ethic
- Increase equitable outdoor access and responsible recreation development, stewardship, and management
- Secure financial stability for recreation development, stewardship, and management
- Mitigate climate impacts and build resilience
Aligning this process to feedback and input from Tribes at the DNR Tribal Summit in July 2023, DNR will hold regional tribal forums across the state beginning in September. These forums will solicit additional tribal input on what a successful strategic plan would look like from their perspective. The results of these forums will guide stakeholder engagement with recreation partners, community-based organizations, other agencies, and the public.
DNR plans to hold virtual public town halls in Fall 2023 to collect feedback on the draft goals and how to achieve them. Information about the town halls will be posted on this webpage.
DNR is also inviting parties with an interest in statewide recreation and public land management to participate in action-development work groups for each of the five draft goals above. Work group members will be asked to generate and propose strategies and actions for DNR to achieve draft goals for the OARR Plan. The work group activities are being scheduled for this fall and will be facilitated by a neutral-third party firm, Triangle Associates, that DNR contracted with to develop the plan.
DNR is targeting release of a draft Outdoor Access and Responsible Recreation (OARR) Plan in Summer 2024. The public will have an opportunity to learn about and comment on the draft plan before it is finalized.
If you would like to receive updates regarding the town halls, work group process, or other ways to engage, please email OARRPlan@dnr.wa.gov or sign up for updates.