DNR to Lift Temporary Shooting Ban Today
October 8, 2020
The temporary statewide ban on the lawful discharge of firearms was lifted Thursday on all DNR-managed lands
Due to recent rainfall and decreasing risk of large wildfires, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is lifting its temporary ban on the lawful discharge of firearms starting today, Thursday, Oct. 8.
The restriction, initially enacted Aug. 15, applied to state forests, community forests and other DNR-managed lands, temporarily banning the discharge of firearms for anyone engaged in activities other than lawful hunting. This restriction was put in place to minimize the number of fires started while the Pacific Northwest witnessed a devastating wildfire season.
"Closing off our lands to any kind of activity, whether that is camping or target shooting due to wildfire risk, is a difficult decision to make. Now that conditions have improved in wildfire-prone areas, residents can get back out to target shoot where it is safe to do so,” said Brock Milliern, DNR’s Conservation and Recreation Division manager. "We are excited to welcome back all recreationists to our public lands, and we are grateful to recreational target shooters for doing their part in preventing wildfires this season.
“Our focus on keeping our communities safe is not over, however. We expect all shooters to continue to put safety first while enjoying our public lands."
The reopening of shooting will take several days as DNR staff head out to recreation areas across the state to remove signs and open gates.
“Patience is key to this reopening. It is important to remember that the process of reopening target shooting can take a couple of days,” said Leah Dobey, DNR’s Statewide Recreation manager. “It takes time to open gates and take down the signs across the state, so we ask that people remain patient as we work to reopen completely.”
Shooters can review the guidelines set out in Washington’s Administrative Code (WAC) 332-52-145 for all the rules and regulations pertaining to discharging firearms on public lands.
For those who would like to discharge a firearm of any type on public land, the following seven safety tips are based on WAC 332-52-145:
- Obey all signage – Some areas in the forest are signed “No Shooting” to ensure public safety. Follow all posted signs and know where you are allowed to shoot before you go.
- Use an earthen backstop – Discharging firearms for the purpose of target shooting is only allowed in areas with an unobstructed backstop that can safely stop all projectiles and debris.
- Be aware of the time of day – Unless otherwise posted, shooting is not allowed 30 minutes before sunrise or 30 minutes after sunset.
- Steer clear of recreation sites – Shooting is not allowed within 500 feet of a recreation site, trail, or structure. Do not shoot across, along, or down roads and trails.
- Use only manufactured targets – Use only manufactured targets. Other kinds of targets leave debris that is difficult to clean up and can damage the forest’s ecosystem.
- No exploding targets or fireworks – These items are never allowed on DNR-managed lands.
- Leave no trace – Pack out what you packed in. This includes shotgun shells, targets, and any other garbage or debris.
Anyone who spots a wildfire should call 911 as soon as possible to report it.
Led by the Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, DNR manages nearly 1,300 miles of trails and 160-plus recreation sites in 3 million acres of working forest state trust lands and 92 natural areas. DNR trust lands keep forests development-free, provide clean water, and generate revenue for public services and school construction. For the latest opening information on DNR-managed lands, visit dnr.wa.gov/open.
Recreation Communications Manager