Public Invited to Offer Testimony June 14 on Proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area
News Date: 
June 6, 2018

Testimony and written comments will be shared with Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold a public hearing on a boundary for the proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area.
The proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area is in Whitman County adjacent to Steptoe Butte State Park. The proposed natural area consists of approximately 437 acres. It is one of the largest remaining remnants of native Palouse prairie and provides habitat for several rare plant species.  
A proposed Natural Area boundary imposes no change in land-use zoning or development code requirements, nor would it result in any land use restrictions on current or future landowners, or to neighbors of the Natural Area. Once the Commissioner of Public Lands designates a boundary, DNR staff are authorized to work with willing property owners within the boundary. It is important to note that DNR can acquire land only if the owner is a willing seller and only at market value, which is determined by an independent, third-party appraisal.  Land within the boundary is part of a DNR Natural Area only if it is acquired by DNR.
Who: DNR Natural Heritage Program
Public hearing on proposed boundary for Steptoe Butte Natural Area. DNR will make a record of the public testimony given at the hearing. 
When: 6-8 p.m., Thursday, June 14, 2018 
Where: Meeting Room, Colfax Library, 102 S. Main, Colfax, WA 
Comments and testimony will be provided to the Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz.
Written comments may also be submitted through Friday, June 22 to: 
Washington Department of Natural Resources
Conservation, Recreation, and Transactions Division
ATTN: Proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area
PO Box 47014
Olympia, WA 98504-7014 
Comments also may be submitted by email to: with the subject line, “Proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area.” 
For more information on the proposed Natural Area boundary, please contact John Gamon, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Section Manager, at 360-902-1661 or
Web Link to Map:  A map of the proposed Steptoe Butte Natural Area can be found online at:
DNR’s Natural Areas Program
DNR manages 56 Natural Area Preserves (NAPs) and 37 Natural Resources Conservation Areas (NRCAs) on 162,000 acres statewide. NAPs protect high-quality examples of native ecosystems and rare plant and animal species. NAPs serve as genetic reserves for Washington’s native species and as reference sites for comparing natural and altered environments. NRCAs protect lands having high conservation values for ecological systems, scenic qualities, wildlife habitat, and low-impact recreational opportunities. Environmental education and approved research projects occur on both NAPs and NRCAs.
In her role as Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz also oversees the Department of Natural Resources’ management of the state’s 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, eight aquatic reserves, wildland firefighting and forest health efforts and rule oversight across 13 million acres of forested land. 
Janet Pearce 
Communications Manager