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 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.
“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.”