FISH AND WILDLIFE
[Order 20-50—Filed March 25, 2020, 10:23 a.m., effective March 25, 2020, 10:23 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: Washington department of fish and wildlife (WDFW) is closing all lands, including all wildlife area units and all water access areas. All areas closed to public access due to the governor's order to "stay home and stay healthy."
Additionally, WDFW is closing all lands to camping, until further notice. It is our intent to keep the camping closure in place through April 30, 2020, at a minimum, and we will reassess the need for the public access and camping closures as more information becomes available. This includes campgrounds, water access areas, and dispersed camping on wildlife areas. We are doing this in order to comply with the social distancing and public safety precautions associated with the COVID-19 threat.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 220-500-040 and 220-500-100.
Other Authority: None.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: Use of all WDFW lands, water access and camping on WDFW lands encourages gatherings of people in locations without the ability to maintain the social distancing and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to much work and school being suspended due to the COVID-19 threat, we are seeing increasing use at our campgrounds. Data indicates most state campground users travel significant distances to experience camping, thus increasing the potential incidence of human interaction and contact that we are all trying to minimize. Additionally, we are aware that the following local, state and federal campground closures will lead to increasing demand on our lands for camping: Snohomish County, Grant County PUD, state parks and state forestlands in Oregon, state parks in California, Washington state parks, Washington department of natural resources, Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. We are coordinating with our sister state land management agencies and the governor's office on this decision.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: March 25, 2020.
WAC 220-500-04000CRegulating public access.
Notwithstanding the provisions of WAC 220-500-040, effective immediately, until further notice, the change shall read as follows:
(1) All WDFW lands, including all Wildlife Area Units and all Water Access Areas are closed to public access due to the Governor's order to "stay home and stay healthy."
Notwithstanding the provisions of WAC 220-500-100, effective immediately, until further notice:
(1) It is unlawful to establish or occupy a camp on department lands.
(2) It is unlawful to establish or occupy a residence camp on department lands. For purposes of this section, a residence camp is an encampment, occupancy, or presence on department lands that is the principal place of residence for the person or occupant.
(3) A residence camp on department lands is declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated by the department after ten days of notice by the department.