Public Conduct Rules for WDFW Lands

In December 2007, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission took a significant step by adopting rules outlined in Washington Administrative Code Chapter 220-500. These rules, after extensive public review and discussion, were put in place to address the increasing number of users and types of activities on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)-managed lands. They provide a balanced and sensible approach to safeguarding fish and wildlife habitats while preserving recreational values that align with the goal of maintaining robust wildlife populations.

Navigating the Rules

These rules exclusively pertain to WDFW-managed lands and are now in full effect. While some conduct rules remain unchanged, this WAC chapter serves as a consolidated resource for easy reference, streamlining the accessibility of these regulations. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including:

  • Behavior and Conduct
  • Parking
  • Camping
  • Campfires
  • Dumping and Littering
  • Target Shooting
  • Fireworks
  • Pets
  • Building Blinds and Tree Stands
  • Access
  • Commercial and Noncommercial Use
  • Enforcement

Key Provisions

Fire rules, for instance, permit campfires within specified parameters, typically up to a maximum of three feet in diameter and three feet high, unless posted otherwise. The rules also establish a 21-day camping limit within a 30-day period unless otherwise indicated. To prevent prolonged occupancy, vehicles should not be left unattended for more than 21 days. Unattended blinds are available on a "first-come, first-serve" basis, ensuring equal opportunities for all users.

The firearms and target practicing rule prohibits the use of certain items such as glass, signs, appliances, mattresses, televisions, furniture, and exploding targets. Target practice debris, except for clay pigeons, should be promptly removed to combat littering issues. Additionally, discharging firearms within 500 feet of one of the 21 department-designated campgrounds is prohibited, aimed at safeguarding the recreational public.

Rules concerning pets permit the use of hunting dogs under control, while unattended roaming of pets is discouraged. During nesting wildlife seasons (April through July), leashing all dogs and pets on WDFW-managed lands is mandated to protect nesting wildlife.

Events and Commercial Activities

For effective management of multiple user groups, the department now requires permits for private or public events involving more than thirty people. Likewise, a commercial use permit is mandatory for any activity on department lands where a fee is charged or where the purpose is the sale or barter of goods or services, regardless of profit intentions.

All users of WDFW-managed lands are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these rules. Adherence to these public conduct regulations ensures that WDFW public lands will continue to offer safe and pristine wildlands for the enjoyment of all, both now and in the future. For a comprehensive view of the rules, please visit the WDFW Public Conduct Rules webpage.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.