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Washington State Land Right-of-Way (3-WA-e)

Information current as of 2020
In Washington, a developer may need to obtain a State land right-of-way permit, license or easement from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (“WSDNR”) to access WSDNR-managed State lands. WSDNR regulates State land access pursuant to Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36. Some state-owned lands in Washington are managed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife or Washington State Parks. If the state land is managed by an agency other than WSDNR, the developer must obtain permission from that agency to access the land. WSDNR keeps current information about which lands are managed by WSDNR on the WSDNR GIS Website.

State Land Right-of-Way Process

3-WA-e.1 – Right-of-Way Application

Any developer seeking a right-of-way over and across state lands must submit a Washington – Right-of-Way Application (“Application”) for the right-of-way to WSDNR. The Application can be found on the WSDNR Right-of-Way Website. This website also includes a Application Instruction Form

The Application will include the developer’s name, address, phone number, and a description of the proposed right-of-way. This description should include:

  • The type of right-of-way the developer is applying for (permit, license or easement);
  • The estimated start date of the right-of-way;
  • The length of time requested for the right-of-way;
  • The type of use proposed (e.g. utility lines), including a description of the parcel benefiting from the right-of-way;
  • The work that will need to be done in order to achieve the proposed use (digging ditches, clearing forest, etc.);
  • For Road Use Permits Only: an estimate of the volume of resources (timber, rock, etc.) to be hauled on the right-of-way and the number of acres from which the resources will be removed; and
  • The location of the proposed right-of-way, including:
    • A legal description of the right-of-way proposal and the benefitting parcel;
    • A map showing the proposed right-of-way; and
    • A record of survey meeting the requirements of R.C.W. § 58 and Wash. Admin. Code § 332-130 created by or under the direct supervision of a licensed professional land surveyor.

Application Instruction Form; Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36.530.

Note: When applying, developers should ensure that their proposal is limited to the amount of land necessary for the purpose required, including sufficient space to enter and maintain structures on the right-of-way. Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36.520.

3-WA-e.2 – Conduct an Appraisal of the Land

After the developer submits an Application, WSDNR will conduct an appraisal of the land sought to be used for the right-of-way. Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36.530.

3-WA-e.3 – Review Application Materials

WSDNR will review the Application for completeness, and ensure that the proposal is in compliance with all agency requirements.

3-WA-e.4 to 3-WA-e.5 – Does WSDNR Accept the Application?

WSDNR has the authority to accept or reject any Application for a right-of-way. If WSDNR accepts the Application, then the developer must pay WSDNR the value of the rights acquired. WSDNR may also request administrative cost be covered by the developer for large or complex proposals. Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36.530.

3-WA-e.6 – Right-of-Way

WSDNR must issue the right-of-way to the developer stating the terms and conditions after they accept the Application and necessary payments are made. Then the developer may begin to use the right-of-way on the start date, and any later sale or lease of the lands affected by the right-of-way must be subject to the easement of the right-of-way. Wash. Rev. Code § 79.36.530.

3-WA-e.7 – Appeal to Superior County Court (Optional)

If WSDNR denies the Application, then the developer has the option to appeal the decision to the superior court of the county in which the lands are situated within 30 days from the date of the decision. Members of the public whose property rights or interests will be affected by the right-of-way can also appeal the decision to the superior court of the county within 30 days from the date of the decision. Wash. Rev. Code § 79.02.030.

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Contact Information

Edit Washington State Department of Natural Resources
Right of Way Section Contact 360.902.1685 Visit Website