DNR Closing Offices to the Public, but Agency Functions Remain Operational
News Date: 
March 19, 2020
   

Effective tomorrow, Friday, March 20, the Department of Natural Resources’ offices across the state will be closed to the public. These closures are part of agency actions intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Steps already taken include having non-essential DNR employees telework and cancelling or postponing in-person public meetings. 
 
“As we monitor the spread of COVID-19, the safety of our families, neighbors and loved ones must be our top priority,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “The emergency actions our state is taking are impacting our way of life, but they are necessary to stop this pandemic and protect the most vulnerable.
 
“At the Department of Natural Resources, we are taking the extraordinary measure of closing offices to the public in order to protect both staff and the public by limiting in-person contact. DNR remains open for business. But we are encouraging residents to interact with our agency via the phone and internet as much as possible. And we are asking for the public’s patience as we work to navigate any disruptions to normal operations.”
 
Operations Information and Updates
 
DNR is headquartered in the Natural Resources Building on the Capitol Campus (1111 Washington St. SE Olympia, WA 98504). It has regional offices across the state, which are also closed to the public starting Friday.
 
Although the buildings are closed to the public, the public can still reach DNR staff to conduct regular business and ask questions. All DNR divisions are accessible via phone and email. Contact information for all offices is here.
 
Program Specific Updates
 
  • Aquatics:
    • Due to the closures and restrictions surrounding COVID-19, DNR is postponing the upcoming Wildstock Geoduck auction on April 3, 2020 until late April or early May of 2020. The division is looking at alternatives to in-person auctions in light of public health concerns.
    • The last two weeks of the current geoduck harvest period, scheduled to end March 27, have been cancelled to ensure the safety of our compliance divers and harvesters. Affected harvesters will be refunded for lost fishing days due to this closure.
  • Uplands:
    • All timber sales auctions will continue as planned and scheduled. Please see information the product sales webpage.
  • Forest Practices:
    • For Forest Practices program assistance at DNR headquarters, please call 360-902-1400 or email fpd@dnr.wa.gov
    • For questions regarding forest practices applications/notifications, please contact the DNR region office where the forest practice may be/is being conducted.
  • Recreation:
    • Recreation sites are currently open and available for visitation. Visit dnr.wa.gov/recreation for the most up-to-date information on public safety closures. Keep in mind that sanitation services are limited. Due to theft, vandalism, and increased usage of our restrooms, visitors are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper on their adventures.
    • Seasonal campgrounds will remain closed until further notice.
    • At open campgrounds, group sites are limited to a capacity of 10 individuals.
 Please follow DNR’s social media channels for daily updates.
Media Resources
 
A photo of Commissioner Franz is available here.
 
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MEDIA CONTACT
Bobbi Cussins
Deputy Communications Director
Washington State Department of Natural Resources
360-878-4217 (cell)