Discover Pass for state recreation lands goes on sale

June 20, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 7 p.m. June 20, 2011

The parking pass required for state parks and other recreation lands is available for purchase, state agencies announced Monday.

The state is offering the Discover Pass online and at recreational license dealers across the Evergreen State. The pass is needed for parking access to 7 million acres of state recreation lands, including Lake Sammamish State Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest.

The base price for the annual pass is $30, and the base price for the day-use pass is $10. Users must also pay transaction and dealer fees.

Starting July 1, the pass is required for vehicle access to recreation lands and water-access sites under Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife jurisdiction. State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, campgrounds, trails and trailheads.

Users must display the annual or day-use Discover Pass in vehicles’ front windshields or face a $99 fine. During the Independence Day holiday weekend — as people cram state recreation lands — officials plan to emphasize public education and compliance.

What to know

  • The annual Discover Pass fee is $30, and a day-use pass is $10. For a Discover Pass purchased from a recreational license dealer, by phone or online the cost is $35 — $30 pass fee, a 10 percent transaction fee and $2 dealer fee. For a day-use pass, the cost is $11.50 — $10 base price, the 10 percent transaction fee and 50-cent dealer fee.
  • Find the Discover Pass for sale at almost 600 sporting goods and other retail stores selling recreational fishing and hunting licenses.
  • Call 1-866-320-9933 to order annual or day-use passes.
  • For holders of certain types of fishing and hunting licenses, registered campers in state parks and certain others, a Discover Pass is not required. Find exemption details on the Discover Pass website
  • Passes can also be purchased at state parks, if staff is available.
  • Starting in the fall, people can purchase passes from state Department of Licensing vehicle license agents.

The pass is meant to generate funding to offset deep cuts to land-management agencies and state parks. Officials need to raise about $60 million per year to compensate for the cuts.

“We are optimistic that people will support state parks and recreation lands and buy the Discover Pass,” State Parks Director Don Hoch said in a statement. “Without the pass to support state parks, we would have been closing park gates all over the state.”

Officials eyed Squak Mountain State Park near Issaquah for possible closure, but instead opted to reduce hours and maintenance as a cost-cutting measure.

“The Discover Pass will help ensure that the beautiful recreation lands of Washington state remain open for all to enjoy,” state Commissioner of Public Land Peter Goldmark said in a statement. “For less than the cost to take the family out to the movies, we can keep popular places such as Mount Si, Capitol State Forest and Ahtanum State Forest open.”

Revenue from pass sales is to be divided among the state land-management agencies: 84 percent to state parks, 8 percent to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and 8 percent to the Department of Natural Resources.

State lawmakers approved the Discover Pass in late April. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the legislation into law last month.

“The Discover Pass allows state natural-resource agencies to maintain public access to millions of acres of state recreation lands,” Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said in a statement. “Sport fishers and hunters have traditionally supported WDFW wildlife areas and water access sites through their license fees; now all who enjoy these lands will share in their support.”

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7 Responses to “Discover Pass for state recreation lands goes on sale”

  1. exoticdoc2 on June 20th, 2011 9:21 pm

    Another scam to separate you from your money. There would be plenty of money for the parks if the government did not keep wasting it on useless garbage.

  2. Peter Corrao on June 20th, 2011 10:40 pm

    Many Canadians visit Mt Bakers Heather Meadows and Artist Point that require parking permits in the summer.Because this is not enforced the majority of Canadians don’t pay the fee.So how will you enforce compliance to the Discovery Pass?

  3. Peter Corrao on June 20th, 2011 10:45 pm

    Can the Parking Permit that comes with the fishing license be used in place of the discovery pass?

  4. Juli Anderson on June 21st, 2011 4:21 pm

    @Peter-the Vehicle Access Pass that comes with your fishing license is still good at WDFW lands and accesses only.

  5. Marilee Greenwald on July 1st, 2011 7:58 am

    Pay it! Please pay it! $30 for access to some of the most beautiful hiking in WA. Totally worth it! To lose access to Squak Mt. —– a crime!

  6. Brett on July 8th, 2011 10:28 pm


    Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2011 14:21:38 -0700
    Subject: RE: {Our Potato People}


    Thanks for sending this –

    I voted against the Discover Pass because public parks means to me that it should be open to the public. I am not opposed to user fees, but with the Discover Pass I don’t like this approach.


    Hans Zeiger

    State Representative, 25th District, Pos. 2


    Sign up here for my email updates:

    From: robert case []
    Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:39 PM
    To:; Kim Miller-Kingston; Zeiger, Rep. Hans
    Subject: RE: {Our Potato People}

    I like this and it’s about time we do something about this.

    Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2011 20:29:41 -0700
    Subject: Fwd: Fwd: Fwd: {Our Potato People}

    ——– Original Message ——–


    Fwd: Fwd: {Our Potato People}


    Thu, 30 Jun 2011 20:26:07 -0700





    WA discover-pass-

    Brett says:

    June 30, 2011 at 12:31 am

    We the people now have to pay to get on our own land!
    Well I guess it is not our land if we have to pay for it.
    I also see court battles for many reasons but one comes to mind of discrimination of the poor.
    I smell a bad thing.
    We the people need to stop and see why we are in this mess in the first place. (Bad Government,management?)
    I could go on and on but all I see is more rights gone.
    Am 55 and when I was young we had less of a population to pay less taxes and we did fine not having to pay to use our land. Looks to me we are paying to much for improvements and management.
    I hope this goes to our courts soon!

  7. greg b on January 21st, 2012 5:15 pm

    1.why isnt the pass transferable (I have 1 jeep and 1 motorhome I only use one or the other, just like the pass that comes with your fishing license you can use it
    for any of your cars as long as you have one your good.

    2.why isnt thier a discount for people who buy a fishing and hunting license
    we are forced to buy land use permits two or three times.

    3.The discovery pass was only supossed to be required on certain state lands now its everywhere at what point will the expansion stop.

    4.Taxes are still coming out of my paycheck why is the goverment having a
    hard time backing up thier commitments(endless wars,banker bail outs,
    stimulus checks billions of tax dollars going to private businesses and companies so they can help thier bottom line and get energy efficient windows,
    why doesnt boeing pay taxes

    please answer just a few of this questions

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