Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz
Elected in 2016, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz protects and manages nearly six million acres of public lands in Washington State – from coastal waters and aquatic reserves, to working forests and farms, to commercial developments and recreation areas. Commissioner Franz is committed to ensuring our public lands are healthy and productive, both today and for future generations.
She is leading the push to make Washington’s lands resilient in the face of climate change, investing in carbon sequestration and clean energy with wind, solar, and geothermal infrastructure.
As the leader of our state's largest wildfire fighting force, she has pushed for new strategies, innovations, and resources to protect our communities.
In order to restore wildfire resilience in our forests, Commissioner Franz developed a 20-year Forest Health Strategic Plan. This plan will make more than one million acres of forest healthier and more resistant to wildfires – a scale and pace that is unprecedented.
And she has prioritized investments in our rural communities, allocating millions of dollars to spark economic opportunities in struggling communities. She knows that our working lands – and the communities that depend on them for family-wage jobs – are integral to our success as a state, and she is investing in their success.
Hilary is a third-generation farmer and small forest landowner, and has raised three wonderful boys.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a juris doctor from Northeastern University Law School.
Your Commissioner's Role
The Commissioner of Public Lands administers the state Department of Natural Resources and its 1,500 employees, directs the management of 5.6 million acres of state-owned lands, supervises DNR's wildfire protection on millions of acres of state and private forest lands and chairs the state’s Board of Natural Resources and the Forest Practices Board.
As such, the Commissioner oversees:
- 3 million acres of state trust lands that provide sustainable non-tax revenue for state and county services and public school construction projects.
- 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands to protect habitat while providing access to commerce, navigation and public uses. Trust lands (both uplands and aquatic) are simultaneously managed to provide vital habitat for many native plant and animal species, produce sustainable revenues for various beneficiaries and provide outdoor public recreation opportunities.
- The state's largest on-call fire department, responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands.
- The State Forester, who facilitates community wildfire preparedness resources and funding, as well as Washington's state-wide community forestry programs.
- The Washington State State Geologist and Washington State Geology Survey which produces maps and data used by researchers, geologists, civil engineers and planners to inform industry, community development and public safety.
- Washington's Natural Areas Program, which safeguards the finest remaining examples of native ecosystems in state ownership.
The Commissioner of Public Lands also facilitates:
- The Board of Natural Resources, which adopts policies, approves major commodity sales, and makes decisions about transactions of state lands managed by DNR. The Board, whose membership represents the major beneficiaries of state trust lands, also establishes sustainable harvest level for forested trust lands and other policies.
- The Forest Practices Board, which administers rules for activities that occur in Washington forests. These rules guide logging, road construction, brush control and other work in the woods to protect public safety and resources on about 12 million acres of state and privately owned forestlands.
Efforts Spearheaded by Commissioner Franz
- The Wildland Fire Protection Strategic Plan
- The Rural Communities Partnership Initiative
- The Forest Health Strategic Plan
- A Smart Carbon Policy for Washington Based on Four Resilience Principles
Connect With Hilary, Commissioner of Public Lands
Invite Commissioner Franz to a meeting or event.
Send Commissioner Franz an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands
Olympia, WA 98504-7001
Olympia, WA 98504-7001