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Public Conduct Rules on WDFW Lands

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted rules (Washington Administrative Code Chapter 220-500) in December 2007 after years of discussion and extensive public review. As the number of users and types of use continue to increase on WDFW-managed lands, the rules provide a fair and sensible approach to protecting both fish and wildlife habitats and recreational values consistent with healthy wildlife populations.

These rules, which only apply on WDFW-managed lands, are now in effect. The complete public conduct rule package is available on the web at:

Although some conduct rules remain in place and have not changed, the WAC chapter compiles them in one location for easy reference.

The rules address behavior and conduct, parking, camping, campfires, dumping and littering, target shooting, fireworks, pets, building blinds and tree stands, access, commercial and noncommercial use, and enforcement.

Fire rules allow campfires up to a maximum of three feet in diameter and three feet high unless posted otherwise. The rules also include a 21-day camping limit within a 30-day period unless posted otherwise. Vehicles should not be left unattended for more than 21 days. Unattended blinds are available to the public on a “first-come first-serve” basis. These rules were designed to provide an equal opportunity for all users.

The firearms and target practicing rule prohibits the use of glass, signs, appliances, mattresses, televisions, furniture, and exploding items as targets. With the exception of clay pigeons, debris from target practice should be removed. These rules, along with no-littering laws, address a growing concern for the amount of garbage left on public lands. The rules also prohibit the discharge of firearms within 500 feet of one of the 21 department-designated campgrounds. These very limited shooting restrictions were included to protect the recreating public.

Rules governing pets allow hunters to use hunting dogs under their control, but not to let them or other pets roam unattended. From April through July, all dogs and other pets must be leashed on WDFW-managed lands to protect nesting wildlife.

To manage multiple user groups, a permit from the department is now required for any private or public event involving more than thirty people.

A commercial use permit from the department is required for any activity on department lands where a fee is charged or where the purpose is the sale or barter of a good or service regardless of whether the activity is intended to produce a profit.

All those who use WDFW-managed lands are encouraged to take a look at the rules.

With the public conduct rules in place and followed; WDFW public lands will continue to provide safe, beautiful wildlands for all users to enjoy now and in the future.