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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    legality of washington state driftwood gathering

    Washington State here

    Can anyone quote a source stating the legaliting (or illegality) of driftwood gathering in washington state? I have found that state and national parks, as well as a couple city codes (seattle muni code) making driftwood gathering illegal, but there seems to be no state laws prohibiting collection in public areas or on private land with permission from landowner.

    I'm looking at using driftwood in some furniture projects and it seems that it is perfectly legal in most public areas to remove driftwood for use.

    can anyone prove me wrong?

    info that i have found:

    this states that The Washington State Attorney General , ruled that is fully legal for you to collect driftwood from a beach in Washington, with the exception of "logs, piling poles and boom sticks."
    [url=http://www-dev.atg.wa.gov/AGOOpinions/opinion.aspx?section=archive&id=13056]LOG PATROL RIGHTS VS. LITTORAL OWNER RIGHTS[/url]

    this ruling on vashon also gives clearance to removing driftwood as it's not standing, not vegetation, and if not in a critical area, no permit needed [url]http://your.kingcounty.gov/ddes/RRC/RegReviewDocs/MinRRC061026.pdf[/url]

    found this info in a book:
    Driftwood management
    Driftwood has long been harvested for firewood and even for minor building projects. For years the practice of harvesting driftwood from beaches has been accepted. However, some have questioned the advisability of continuing such practices, especially in light of the better understood ecological role driftwood plays in estuaries and on beaches. Recognizing the benefits of driftwood to natural ecological systems, the State of Oregon has adopted a policy prohibiting the removal of drift logs. This policy does not preclude the beachcomber from collecting pieces of driftwood, but it is intended to prohibit the large-scale removal of large logs for firewood or other uses. The state of washington licenses individuals who wish to retrieve drift logs afloat or on beaches. Behond licensing, washington does not apprear to have any driftwood removal policy applied to the general public
    the licensing they are speaking about is timber log recovery licensing.

    anyone dig up anything that i'm not seeing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    I'll get you the RCW off the sign at the beach appoach at Ocean Park. I haven't been there since the mid 90's but may go that way this coming summer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    You know, derrickito, if you use the Search feature at the top of the page you can find a thread from 2002 that addresses this very same question.

    The reason why you are having a difficult time finding any one law on driftwood collecting in Washington State is because federal, state and local laws are all involved in determining whether the gathering of driftwood will be legal in any one area or not.

    You have the federal Environmental Protection Act, first, and then you have Washington's Shoreline Management Act of 1971 (see RCW 90.58 et seq) and you have Washington's RCW 36.70A.480 which says that shoreline management must be part of any county or city's comprehensive plan (their codes, rules, regulations).

    You have privately-owned and state-owned land and federal land involved.

    So, whether your driftwood gathering is legal or not will depend on where exactly you decide to gather your driftwood. There are various penalties that can be assessed (federal, state and/or local) if you fail to look at the laws that govern a particular shoreline area prior to doing your collecting.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    roger that.

    im in the seattle area, already know that the city has ordinances against it so have been roaming a ways for wood. have been going to whidbey island recently to a few public access areas. i'll try digging through county and city ordinances there a bit more and see what i find.

    curious if anyone has done this research before and knows of places where i'd be in the clear taking some driftwood

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