DNR and Washington Forestry

DNR's pivotal role in Washington state's forest economy

DNR manages 2.1 million acres of working forest on state trust lands for habitat, clean water and sustainable revenue to support public school construction and other beneficiaries. As the state's largest nonfederal landowner, DNR plays a pivotal role in Washington state's timber economy and the future of its forest heritage.

Forests on State Trust Land

Our monthly public timber sales from these lands are designed to meet the goals of our Habitat Conservation Plan for Forested State Trust Lands and the requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). The volume of timber we seek to sell is guided by a Sustainable Harvest Calculation, authorized by the state Board of Natural Resources. Following harvests, we invite bids on silviculture contracts to replant state trust forests with tree seedlings from our Webster Forest Nursery. To expand knowledge of successful forest management techniques we conduct research in the Olympic Experimental State Forest.

Regulation and Monitoring

DNR administers rules guiding forest practices, such as timber harvests and road building, on more than 9 million acres of private, tribal and public (non-federal) forest in Washington state. The Forest Practices Board, an independent state agency, adopts forest practices rules to protect water quality, fish habitat, other public resources and public safety while maintaining a viable timber industry. These rules are subject to science-based recommendations for improvement and guide DNR’s permitting process for timber harvests and other forest practices statewide.
Programs designed to help forest landowners deal with the impacts of state regulations include Alternate Plans for more management flexibility under the forest practices rules, the Family Forest Fish Passage Program to replace culverts and other structures blocking fish migration in streams, and a riparian easement program to help compensate landowners for timber they cannot harvest along streams. Our Webster Forest Nursery grows tree seedlings that small forest landowners can purchase and plant to comply with forest replanting rules.

Nurturing Forests and Watersheds

DNR promotes the economic and ecological viability of private forestlands through the Forest Stewardship Program and our Small Forest Landowner Office to provide free technical advice, education and other opportunities to landowners who want to promote the economic and ecological health of their forestlands.

Countering Threats to Forests

As the state's largest on-call fire department, DNR works with landowners, fire districts, communities and the general public to prevent and respond to wildfires on more than 13 million acres of private and state-owned forestland. We distribute Industrial Fire Precaution Levels to those who work in woods, issue burn bans to reduce human-caused fire starts, administer burn permits to those conducting certain forest operations, provide Fire Prevention and Fuels Management Mapping, and current information about wildfire risks in each county.
DNR relies on partnerships with community partners to restore the health of Washington's forests. One way we do that is through a Good Neighbor Authority agreement with the U.S. Forest Service. Under this agreement, DNR provides partnership to restoring federal forests by sharing the knowledge and technical assistance gained managing state forests to help treat federal forests. This arrangement allows for broad restoration projects done on a landscape scale without the limits of land ownership and quickens the pace and scale of forest restoration.  
In response to threats to forest health from other sources, such as insects, disease and overcrowded stands, we may issue Forest Health Hazard Warnings that open up cost-share funding opportunities for landowners to thin unhealthy forests.
We also participate with federal agencies to monitor and protect forest conditions through tools like the Good Neighbor Authority and our Forest Health Program, which shares its knowledge and technical assistance with public and private landowners. Our Urban and Community Forestry program works with local governments and landowners to keep trees healthy in our communities.