Washington Department of Natural Resources close lands to recreation, early archery season remains as scheduled

Staff Writer

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources is extending a recreation closure of all managing lands east of the Cascades through September 17, due to critical wildfire danger.

"Closing recreation to the public is a difficult decision," Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a press release. "One we do not take lightly, but the risk to public safety and our firefighters is too great to take chances with. "I know how important hunting season is to so many Washingtonians, but we are in the middle of a historic wildfire event."

The DNR left a link to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's page to contact for concerns about hunting tags, though a representative for the WDFW told the Statesman-Examiner that there is still plenty of hunting opportunity still open on WDFW and federal lands.

The WDFW representative said that while hunting seasons haven't changed, it is a developing situation that they are monitoring. The DNR will announce the reopening of its public lands to when it is safe to do so. Since Labor Day there has been over 465,000 acres of land burned in wildfires on the eastern side of the state. Those anticipating to hunt in early archery season for deer or elk on DNR lands will have to change location, or wait for the last weekend of the season from Sept. 18-20.