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In partnership with citizens and governments, the Washington State DNR provides innovative leadership and expertise to ensure environmental protection, public safety, perpetual funding for schools and communities, and a rich quality of life.
Just prior to statehood, a cash-poor, land-rich federal government provided Washington with more than 3 million acres of land to build schools and other vital public institutions. Free public education was seen then, as it is now, as essential to American freedom, prosperity and happiness. Two square miles of every 36-square "township" were given to the young state of Washington to generate revenue for education. In 1957, the legislature created the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to manage state trust lands for the people of Washington. Under the elected leadership of the Commissioner of Public Lands, DNR manages seven specific trusts to generate revenue and preserve forests, water, and habitat. DNR now manages 5.6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands for more than $200 million in annual financial benefit for public schools, state institutions, and county services.