Board of Natural Resources Approves Transfer of Chapman Lake Lands to Department of Fish and Wildlife
News Date: 
January 3, 2024

First-of-a-kind transfer with revitalized Trust Land Transfer tool will allow WDFW to conserve land and improve recreational fishing access in Spokane County

The Washington State Board of Natural Resources approved a Trust Land Transfer from the Department of Natural Resources to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) – a first-of-its-kind transfer under the revitalized Trust Land Transfer process adopted in 2022 – during its meeting Wednesday morning in Olympia.
DNR’s transfer of the 530-acre Chapman Lake parcel south of Cheney in Spokane County will allow WDFW to restore public boating access to the lake, which provided a popular kokanee fishery prior to the closure of a private resort there in 2011.  
The transfer of the Chapman Lake parcel marks the first time the revitalized Trust Land Transfer process has been used to move lands out of DNR trust management. The parcel was previously managed to generate revenue for the Common School Trust, which supports K-12 school construction throughout Washington state. The $1.45 million in legislative funding for the transfer will be used to acquire replacement property for the Common School Trust.
“We have a responsibility to ensure Washington state’s public lands are providing the greatest environmental, social, and economic good for the public. This innovative Trust Land Transfer is a prime example of our commitment to protecting our lands for the present and future generations while providing sustainable recreation opportunities,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “I’m thrilled to see that the work that stakeholders and DNR staff put into formalizing the Trust Land Transfer process has created an outcome that everyone can be proud of.”
“WDFW staff have worked tirelessly for more than a decade to secure public boating access to Chapman Lake, and this transfer is an essential first step toward providing significant benefits to outdoor recreation in the region,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the Trust Land Transfer process, and we appreciate the cooperation with DNR to ensure this access for future generations.”
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved WDFW’s acquisition of the Chapman Lake parcel during its December meeting.
DNR generates more than $250 million each year through the management of trust lands, which are required to generate revenue to support schools, colleges, and critical local services across Washington state. That revenue comes from sustainable forest management, agricultural leases, clean energy leases, and commercial real estate leases.
The Trust Land Transfer tool is designed to transfer lands that don’t produce expected amounts of revenue and provide important ecological values or public benefits. DNR transfers these lands to public agencies for conservation or recreation purposes and then replaces them with lands better suited to generate money to support school construction and local governments.
Revitalization of the Trust Land Transfer tool was a major project of the 2021 Trust Land Performance Initiative, which focused on identifying tools to address underperforming land assets. This effort, funded in part by the Legislature, was designed to make the tool more consistent, transparent, repeatable, and effective.  
The Legislature has funded four other Trust Land Transfers under the new process that are expected to follow in the coming months.
Maps, photos, and more information on the Chapman Lake Trust Land Transfer parcel are available on the Board of Natural Resources webpage.