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Land Management

Protecting public lands for public use

As steward of 205 parks, 175 miles of regional trails, and 32,000 acres of open space, King County Parks is responsible for protecting public lands for the benefit and use of King County's residents. As part of this duty, we are responsible for preventing, eliminating, or in certain limited circumstances, permitting private uses of our public lands.

A landscape shot showing the Snoqualmie River and the Cascade foothills

Our Land Management team works with adjacent landowners to:

  • Promote the proper use of public parkland
  • Clarify boundaries
  • Permit private, non-park uses of Parks-owned property via a Special Use Permit (in limited circumstances)

Read more about how we manage private, non-park uses of our public lands in our Frequently Asked Questions.

How does it work?

When a landowner adjacent to one of King County’s regional trails or parks proposes to use public land for their own private, non-park purposes, Parks reviews their request. If the proposed use aligns with the Land Use Guidelines and the landowner agrees to the conditions and pays the associated fees, we coordinate with King County Real Estate Services to issue a Special Use Permit to the landowner, which is usually in effect for five years. A Special Use Permit is required by King County Code 14.30 for private use of Parks’ property.

How do I get started?

Parks may consider issuing a Special Use Permit for these private, non-park uses:

  • Accessing private property across Parks’ property
  • Utilities and communication facilities
  • Public health and safety, education, research, and ecological improvements
  • Other uses King County determines is in the public interest
A diagram showing the SUP process
Abbreviations: RES = King County Real Estate Services Section; LUG = Land Use Guidelines; SUP = Special Use Permit

To start the process, complete the Pre-Submittal Review Request form and email it to

Information Sessions

In November 2020, we hosted info sessions about the Land Use Guidelines and Special Use Permits at three virtual meetings, presenting identical information at each session, with a focus on circumstances specific to the Eastrail and East Lake Sammamish Trail during those meetings.

Watch the videos!

Other Resources

If you are interested in booking a park, trail, or facility for your event, go here.

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