OLYMPIA, Wash. - The State Department of Natural Resources is closing all of the nearly 6 million acres of its managed land to the public for at least two weeks.
The closure of all DNR-managed lands goes into effect Thursday, March 26 through at least April 8.
The closure is another step in the DNR's efforts to protect people by stemming the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, the DNR joined the State Department of Parks and Recreation and State Fish & Wildlife in closing all state campgrounds through April 30.
State-managed parks and wildlife areas are also closed for at least two weeks beginning March 25.
Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the elected official who leads DNR, issued the following statement:
"This was not an easy decision. We treasure our forests and trails and beaches as places of rejuvenation and refuge from the chaos of daily life. But, I cannot ignore the unfortunate reality of what we saw this weekend: crowded trails, people shoulder to shoulder, and large gatherings. This behavior undercuts the sacrifices that Washingtonians of all means and ability are making in order to adhere to social distancing. And it undercuts the heroic efforts of our doctors, nurses, and first responders who risk their lives each day responding to this unrelenting epidemic.
“This behavior also makes clear that, while we have taken drastic measures, we have not done enough when it comes to closing areas where large crowds gather and communicating the importance of staying at home and avoiding physical contact with others.
“The disruptions we are experiencing are difficult and challenging – and unprecedented in our lifetimes. But they are necessary. We must bend the curve. And if we all do our part, these temporary disruptions will save countless lives.”