With increases in users and types of use on WDFW lands, and after years of discussion and extensive public review, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted new public conduct rules (Washington Administrative Code 232-13) in December 2007 to protect fish and wildlife habitats, public safety, and equal opportunity.
The rules only apply on the 900,000 acres of wildlife areas and water access sites under WDFW ownership or management.
Some of the rules are not new, but for easy reference, all are now compiled in one new chapter. They include long-standing prohibitions on dumping, littering, and discharging fireworks; and regulation of access to protect vulnerable wildlife. Others include:
- Behavior and conduct – no disorderly conduct, including abusive language, disruptions, obstructions; no possession of beer or malt liquor in quantities subject to keg registration laws under RCW 66.28.210 without a permit.
- Building blinds, tree stands, camps -- no digging pits to create waterfowl blinds; no cutting trees or attaching wire, staples or nails to trees to build blinds, stands, camps; all non-natural materials used must be removed at end of hunting season; unattended blinds are available to public on “first-come-first-serve” basis; camp structures must be removed at end of trip.
- Camping -- 21-day camping limit within a 30-day period.
- Campfires -- campfires only up to three feet in diameter and three feet high.
- Commercial use -- permit required for any activity where a fee is charged or where the purpose is the sale or barter of a good or service, regardless of whether profit is intended, including guides for hunting, fishing and boating/rafting; a fishing guide license qualifies as a permit to use WDFW water access sites.
- Groups -- permit required for any private or public event involving more than 30 people.
- Parking -- vehicles cannot be left unattended for more than 21 days; no mooring a houseboat, dock, or other floating occupancy structure (except floating waterfowl hunting blinds) without a permit.
- Pets -- hunters can use hunting dogs under their control, but cannot let them or other pets roam unattended; from April through July, all dogs and other pets must be leashed on WDFW lands to protect nesting wildlife.
- Target shooting – no use of glass, signs, appliances, mattresses, televisions, furniture and exploding items as targets; debris from targets, except clay pigeons, must be removed; no discharge of firearms within 500 feet of one of the 21 designated campgrounds; no discharge of tracer or incendiary ammunition.
- Removal of minerals, wood and artifacts from department lands – it is unlawful to remove petrified wood, minerals, fossils, wood products or artifacts from department lands unless such removal is authorized by a permit issued by the director.
- Domestic animals on department lands – it is unlawful for any person to allow domesticated animals to be unattended on, or to permit livestock to graze upon land under the control of the department without a written permit from the director. In addition to other penalties provided by law, any such person may be liable to the department for a compensatory fee of one dollar per head of livestock per day.
- Vehicles using department lands – it is unlawful to operate a motor driven vehicle on a road controlled or managed by the department pursuant to road management agreement in a manner or for a purpose contrary to posted signs or notices except as authorized by the director. Violation of this section is an infraction, punishable under RCW 77.15.230.
- Field Trial Permit - an individual or organization wishing to conduct a field trial must obtain a permit from the department.