State-owned aquatic lands Public Use and Access
“Encouraging direct public use and access” is one of the key public benefits of state-owned aquatic lands that the department must strive to provide. Public use and access to aquatic lands for transportation, commerce, and recreation is a basic right of Washington citizens.
The department's role is to protect public access and to ensure that opportunities for public access are fully considered in aquatic lands management decisions.
With regard to public use and access, the department has three separate but related goals:
- Preservation of natural values of aquatic resources that can be used, such as clean water for fish and for swimming, and bedlands and beaches that are ecologically healthy.
- Enhancement of access to shorelines so the public can better enjoy these natural values of aquatic resources.
- Maintenance of adequate passage for waterborne commerce and navigation.
Use of state-owned aquatic lands is to be granted free of charge for public parks and use and access. The aquatic lands and improvements on them must be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and may not be managed to produce a profit for the operator or a concessionaire. A public park may be incorporated into another use, and the park portion will be free of rent, as long as the park is freely available to the public at all times.
Public Access Resources in Washington