Users can transfer state recreation pass between vehicles

April 10, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Users can transfer the Discover Pass for state parks and recreation lands between vehicles, under legislation Gov. Chris Gregoire signed March 30 — not long before Memorial Day launches the summer recreation season.

The change to the 1-year-old Discover Pass took effect immediately. The legislation allows users to transfer the annual pass between two vehicles at no additional cost.

State lawmakers acted after Discover Pass users complained about the inability to transfer the pass between vehicles.

What to know

Statewide, the Discover Pass is for sale at almost 600 sporting goods and other retail stores offering recreational fishing and hunting licenses. In Issaquah, Discover Pass retailers include:

  • Big 5 Sporting Goods — 1810 12th Ave. N.W.
  • Fred Meyer — 6100 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E.
  • The Sports Authority — 1185 N.W. Gilman Blvd.

Or, purchase passes at Lake Sammamish State Park, 2000 N.W. Sammamish Road. Residents can also buy the pass through the state Department of Licensing during the vehicle tab renewal process.

Call 1-866-320-9933 toll free or go to to order annual or day-use passes.

Certain holders of fishing and hunting licenses, registered campers in state parks, disabled veterans and others do not require a Discover Pass to park on state recreation lands. Find a complete list of exemptions at the Discover Pass website.

People can also earn a free annual Discover Pass by contributing 24 hours of agency-approved volunteer work in state recreation areas. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Discover Pass website.

“Customer survey results indicated that pass transferability between two vehicles could boost support for the Discover Pass,” State Parks Director Don Hoch said. “We are optimistic that the change will lead to greater public support and participation. We now depend on the Discover Pass to keep state parks and other state recreation lands open for public use and enjoyment.”

Legislators created the $30-per-year Discover Pass last year to generate funds for cash-strapped state parks and natural resources agencies. The pass is required to park motor vehicles at state parks and recreation lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The state also offers single-day passes for $10, but the daily pass is not transferable between vehicles.

Rangers sell annual and day-use passes from a kiosk at the Lake Sammamish State Park entrance. Squak Mountain is not staffed on a regular basis, so parkgoers buy passes on a self-pay system. The pass is also required to park at Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Users must display the annual or day-use Discover Pass in vehicles’ front windshields or face a $99 fine.

The pass transfer between vehicles applies to vehicle access passes issued alongside annual fishing and hunting licenses for access to state Department of Fish and Wildlife sites.

The state agencies split the revenue — 84 percent for state parks and 8 percent apiece for the others.

Officials said revenue from Discover Pass sales has come in at less than half of original projections. The state projected sales through 2011 at $19.38 million, but the actual revenue for the period amounted to $8.2 million.

The pass is sold at state vehicle-licensing offices, state parks, some retail businesses and through the Washington Interactive Licensing System.

“The Discover Pass is a great way to experience some of Washington’s most extraordinary places and this legislation makes it even easier to visit our state parks and recreation lands,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Our parks, some of the best in the world, rely on user support and this small investment to enjoy our public lands is well worth it.”

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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