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Future of Hiking Trails on DNR Lands Depends on You

Posted by Andrea Imler at Sep 24, 2014 11:55 AM |

Help shape the future of trails like Mailbox Peak, Oyster Dome and Mount Si. Attend an upcoming meeting on DNR’s recreation trails policy, and help shape the future of state trails for years to come.

Mailbox Peak, Oyster Dome, Capitol Forest, Mount Si, Yacoult Burn—what do these places have in common?

They are some of Washington’s most popular places to hike and all are on Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land. The state agency is currently developing an official trails policy to guide how it uses, develops and maintains trails around the state. As the state agency begins to develop it's plan, hiker feedback is essential.

New law requires a trails plan on DNR lands

Earlier this year, legislation (ESHB 2151) passed in Olympia that requires the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop an official recreational trails policy by Oct. 31, 2015. The plan must cause the least impact to the land; provides environmental and water quality protection; and maintains the lowest construction and maintenance costs that are reasonable.

The bill also states that DNR should use the Forest Service trail standards as guidelines for developing their own best management practices and maintenance guidelines.

Hikers, your voice is needed now

To develop the best trails policy possible, DNR needs to hear how hikers, trail runners, and non-motorized recreationists want their trails managed. The outcome of DNR’s recreation trails policy development process will impact hikers all over the state for years to come—make sure to get involved now and make your voice heard.

I want to get involved. What should I say?

Here are some points to consider providing when you’re attending a public meeting or emailing your comments to DNR:

  • Provide a variety of hiking trail experiences and build trails for a range of skill levels. Hikers and other non-motorized recreationists seek out trails that provide great experiences such as a summit vista, shimmering lakes and plunging waterfalls. Trails should also be diversified in skill levels from shorter, family-friendly adventures to thigh-burning and cardio-bursting treks that gain elevation quickly.
  • Build and maintain trails with cost efficiency and the user experience in mind. Right now some DNR trails are overbuilt, sending trail building costs through the roof, and resulting in fewer miles of trail built.
  • Address the growing needs of hikers in Washington state and prioritize trail development projects around them. Ninety percent of Washingtonians walk, hike, climb and mountaineer. DNR should engage hikers and other recreationists and take into account trends in population growth and increased demand for hiking trails that are both closer-to-home and further out.

There are two ways to get involved: attend an upcoming public meeting or submit your thoughts by emailing

Upcoming Public Meetings

September 24

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

DNR Southeast Region
Hal Holmes Community Center
209 N Ruby Street
Ellensburg, WA 98926

September 25

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

DNR Northeast Region
Mountain Gear Corporate Headquarters
6021 E Mansfield Avenue
Spokane Valley, WA 99212

September 30

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

DNR South Puget Sound Region
King County Library System 
Service Center Conference Room
960 Newport Way NW
Issaquah, WA 98027

October 2

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

DNR Olympic Region
Port Angeles Senior Center
328 E 7th Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Attend a meeting, let other hikers know how it went

After you attend one of the public meetings, please let me and your fellow hikers know how it went. I would love to hear what you learned and what you think WTA should focus on as the trails policy process moves forward.

Email me at or post a reply to this blog to share your thoughts with fellow hikers.

Hikers on DNR Lands
Two different trail experiences on DNR trails, including the popular Oyster Dome and Mailbox Peak trails. Photos by j brink and jeongobar.


monrovian on Future of Hiking Trails on DNR Lands Depends on You

Are any public meetings scheduled for the North/Northwest/Northeast areas? It appears the public meetings are to serve the I-90 corridor. Thanks

Posted by:

monrovian on Sep 29, 2014 04:35 PM