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Peter Goldmark

Posted by cahnrs.webteam | June 7, 2013

As the former elected Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark managed the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and administered a $625 million, two-year budget. Peter Goldmark served as the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since Washington’s statehood in 1889, and the fifth Commissioner to manage the Department of Natural Resources which was created in 1957.

In this role, Peter also chaired the state Board of Natural Resources, which sets policy for the management of state trust lands. These lands include some 3 million acres of publicly owned forests, agricultural and grazing lands, and commercial properties. State lands raise millions of dollars each year to fund the construction of public schools, colleges, universities, and other government institutions, as well as county and state services. In fiscal year 2007 alone, the lands managed by DNR produced more than $209 million in revenue for trust beneficiaries.

The Department of Natural Resources also manages approximately 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, which include shorelines, tidelands, lands under Puget Sound and the coast, and navigable lakes and rivers and natural lakes, generating nearly $35 million per biennium. DNR monitors cleanup and restoration efforts from mining operations, and assists communities by providing scientific information about earthquakes, landslides, and ecologically sensitive areas

Peter also oversaw the largest fire department in the state, protecting 12.7 million acres of non-federal land including private, state-owned, and tribal land from wildfires. He chairs the state Forest Practices Board, which sets regulations concerning private timber harvests, forest road building, and other forest operations.


Peter Goldmark began his education in a one-room schoolhouse at Duley Lake near Okanogan, Washington. He graduated from Okanogan High School in Okanogan and in 1967 received a degree from Haverford College near Philadelphia. After receiving his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971, he traveled to Harvard University for a postdoctoral fellowship in neurobiology. Following his marriage in 1972, he moved back to Okanogan with his wife, Georgia. Together, they raised their five children on the family ranch. Sadly, Georgia succumbed to cancer in 2003.

Goldmark has had a lifelong involvement with agriculture, science, education, and public service. Included among his public service positions are the following:

  • Director of Agriculture for State of Washington, appointed by Governor Lowry in 1993
  • Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Agriculture and the Environment in 1994-1996
  • Governor’s Council for a Sustainable Washington in 2002-2003
  • Governor’s Council on Biodiversity in 2004-2005
  • Founding board member and past Chairman of the Board of Farming and the Environment, a unique coalition of farmers, ranchers, and conservationists founded in 1999
  • Board of Regents of Washington State University, 1996-2005; President of the Board in 1999-2000
  • Board of the Washington State University-University of Washington Policy Consensus Center, 2003-2008
  • Okanogan School Board, 1998-2005
  • Wildland firefighter, Okanogan County, Fire District No. 8 – 30+ years

Goldmark maintains a small scientific research facility at his ranch and has published scientific articles in national and international journals. He currently maintains a wheat-breeding program at his facility and has recently released new varieties for Washington wheat farmers.

Goldmark and his wife, Wendy, divide their time between their ranch in Okanogan and home in Olympia.

Updated on September 28, 2018