Governor approves $30 user fee for state parks, lands

May 12, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2 p.m. May 12, 2011

Flanked by recreation enthusiasts, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed legislation Thursday to create a $30 vehicle pass for Lake Sammamish State Park and other state recreation lands.

The measure, called the Discover Pass, goes into effect July 1 for vehicle access to recreation lands and water-access sites managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and state Department of Natural Resources. The pass goes on sale in mid-June.

“It is essential that we keep our recreation areas open to the public,” Gregoire said in a statement. “I applaud the Legislature for coming together with a solution that allows us to help keep our state recreation lands open and accessible during the worst budget crisis in the state’s history.”

Users can pay $30 per year per vehicle or purchase a $10 day-use pass. State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, campgrounds, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, trails and trailheads. In addition to the Lake Sammamish park, local sites include Squak Mountain State Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest.

The pass or the day-use iteration must be visibly displayed in the front windshield of any motor vehicle.

Lawmakers created the Discover Pass to close gaps in funding for state parks and recreation lands. Revenue is to be split among the recreation agencies. The breakdown calls for 84 percent to state parks, 8 percent to the wildlife agency and 8 percent to the Department of Natural Resources.

Users can purchase the pass at almost 600 sporting goods stores and other retailers statewide next month. The pass can also be purchased online or by calling 1-866-320-9933. Starting next fall, the state Department of Licensing also plans to sell the pass.

The measure also exempts holders of certain fishing and hunting licenses, as well as registered campers in state parks and other users, from some Discover Pass requirements.

Legislators passed legislation to create the pass last month. The proposal attracted broad support from outdoor recreation groups, including the Washington Trails Association.

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