State nets almost $3 million from Discover Pass sales

October 25, 2011

Sales prompt backups, confusion at state park

The state-mandated Discover Pass generated $2.9 million for state parks and other public recreation lands since the state and retailers started offering the pass in June — crucial dollars for the cash-strapped agencies responsible for managing public lands.

Officials started requiring a $30 annual pass or a $10 day-use pass to park vehicles at recreation lands statewide July 1. The pass is mandatory for state parks, as well as lands managed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Department of Natural Resources.

State public lands agencies need to generate about $60 million per year in sales to compensate for deep budget cuts. The agencies split the revenue — 84 percent for state parks and 8 percent apiece for the others.

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National Public Lands Day comes to Issaquah Alps

September 23, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Sept. 23, 2011

Issaquah Alps peaks host volunteers Saturday for National Public Lands Day.

Organizations plan trail work on Cougar and Tiger mountains in the Issaquah area.

Washington Trails Association and King County Parks volunteers plan to decommission old trail sections along Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park’s Indian Trail.  The decommissioning involves adding plants in the old tread.

The work party runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event is designed for families, and participants can sign up at the Washington Trails Association’s website.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance plan to build Tiger Mountain trails Saturday for National Public Lands Day.

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Build Tiger Mountain trails for National Public Lands Day

September 20, 2011

The state Department of Natural Resources and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance plan to build Tiger Mountain trails Sept. 24 for National Public Lands Day.

The local event for National Public Lands Day is a bike trails work party on East Tiger Mountain.

The event at the Tiger Summit Trailhead, southeast of Issaquah, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The state natural resources agency and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance need volunteers to dig, clear debris and bench in a trail on the East Tiger Summit Trail.

Organizers plan a barbecue lunch to follow the work party.

Contact Sam Jarrett at 206-375-0448 or sam.jarrett@dnr.wa.gov to learn more.

Participants should bring water, snacks, work gloves, work boots and, if possible, personal protection equipment, such as a hardhat and tools, for digging and brush clearing.

Participants at each of the Department of Natural Resources-sponsored events can receive a voucher for a complimentary Discover Pass, a parking pass for state parks and lands.

Build trails on Tiger Mountain for National Public Lands Day

September 17, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 17, 2011

The state Department of Natural Resources and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance plan to build trails on Tiger Mountain for National Public Lands Day.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and the Department of Natural Resources invite the public to join volunteers and partner organizations to celebrate public lands Sept. 24.

Participants at each of the Department of Natural Resources-sponsored events can receive a voucher for a complimentary Discover Pass, a parking pass for state parks and lands. The volunteers attending the National Public Lands Day events receive a complimentary one-day Discover Pass.

The local event for National Public Lands Day is a bike trails work party on East Tiger Mountain.

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Discover Pass is available to vehicle owners renewing registration

September 8, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 8, 2011

The annual Discover Pass for state parks and recreation lands is now available through the state Department of Licensing.

The agency started mailing notices in early September to owners of vehicle license tabs set to expire on or after Oct. 1.

Motorists can also purchase the Discover Pass at vehicle licensing offices or online as part of the registration renewal process. Purchasing the pass through the Department of Licensing does not have dealer or transaction fees attached.

People buying the pass through the Department of Licensing should receive the Discover Pass in the mail from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife within 10 days of renewal and purchase.

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Discover Pass sales generate almost $3 million for parks, lands

August 25, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 25, 2011

The state generated $2.9 million for state parks and other public recreation lands during the initial six weeks of Discover Pass sales, state agency chiefs announced Wednesday.

Officials started requiring the $30 annual pass or $10 day-use pass to park vehicles at recreation lands statewide July 1. The state started selling the passes in June.

Don Hoch, Washington State Parks director, said the revenue is crucial to state parks, because the agency must rely on user fees and donations to cover costs. In recent years, the Legislature slashed funding for agencies managing outdoor recreation lands and facilities.

“Public support has been essential as we begin this new program aimed at preserving public access to recreation lands,” he said in a statement. “It’s heartening that Washington citizens are willing to help keep their recreation lands open and operating. And we are optimistic that sales will continue to grow to help fund our state recreation lands.”

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State park pulls some strings to host Beijing puppet theater

August 23, 2011

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Folk Arts in the Parks Program presents a free performance of the Beijing rod puppet theater in Lake Sammamish State Park.

Puppeteers Zhengli Xu (left) and Yuqin Wang will perform at 6 p.m. Aug. 26 with the Beijing rod puppet theater in Lake Sammamish State Park. Contributed

No state Discover Pass for parking is needed for those attending this event.

The performance is at 6 p.m. Aug. 26 in the kitchen shelter at the park.

The state describes performers Dragon Art Studio, based in Portland, as an internationally acclaimed puppet theater and the only professional rod puppet theater in North America. Primary puppeteers Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu were trained in China at the Beijing Puppet Theater and the Beijing Opera School. Their daughter, Brenda Xu, is the third member of the troop.

Wang and Xu came to the U.S. in 1996 and performed at the Atlanta Olympics that summer. In 2004, they were named National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The performance is part of a broader series of events celebrating the diverse culture represented in Washington. The program is a partnership between the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Arts Commission and Northwest Heritage Resources. Funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Washington State Arts Commission and the Washington State Parks Foundation.

The Beijing puppet show is designed to be accessible to those with disabilities. If special accommodations are required in order to attend, call 649-4276. Those who are hearing or speech impaired may call the Washington Telecommunications Relay Service 800-833-6388 toll free. Requests must be made in advance.

Learn more about the Dragon Arts Studio at www.dragonartstudio.com.

Salmon is king now in Lake Sammamish

August 16, 2011

Dallas Cross

Hey, it is time to take advantage of the overabundance of king or chinook salmon that are heading for Issaquah Creek and to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

The state declared open season for them in Lake Sammamish beginning Aug. 16. By then, the hatchery was expected to have all it needed for egg harvest and to have left the rest for us.

This year’s regulations state you may keep up to four salmon, of which only two may be king salmon, the ones with the black lips.

Also this year, you must have a Washington State Discover Pass in order to use Lake Sammamish State Park and its boat launch. The pass may either be purchased on a daily basis for $10, or for $30 for an annual pass. Fishing within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek is prohibited.

The fishery for kings has been rewarding in recent years, for many have been caught. However, the peak spawning period is generally over when the season opens and you will mostly catch matured and dark salmon. Every so often, you get a late arrival with silver sides that’s suitable for the table. For most, the thrill of catching a heavy-duty salmon in a suburban lake makes the outing quite worthwhile.

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Little Si trail offers hikers something new on each trip

July 12, 2011

As hikers approached the final uphill stretch of the Little Si trail, the downy woodpecker curiously peered around a tree and scooted up the side, pecking lightly at the bark.

People continued up the minor switchback and the black-and-white bird with a red crest spread its wings and swooped over to another tree near the trail. It seemed accustomed to the regular foot traffic as it alertly spied on passers-by from just a few feet off the trail.

While the woodpecker might be the only wildlife you encounter during a trip up the rocky mountain face, the 4.4-mile Little Si trail will make you want to return — and probably soon.

Bob Dubose and Kyoko Maruyama, both of Bellevue, enjoy the view from the top of Little Si after their July 6 hike. Contributed

Beth and Duane Carlson, of Bellevue, have come back a dozen times, they said while basking in the midday sun July 6.

The couple was planning to catch up on some yard work that morning, but the limited prospect of having another 80-degree day turned their thoughts toward the mountains.

“I was like, ‘You know what, let’s go hiking,’” said Beth, an avid outdoorswoman at 60.

And although he wanted to get work done in the yard, Duane said it didn’t take much convincing to change his mind.

“It took her two sentences to talk me out of doing yard work,” said Duane, 71, a retired doctor.

The Little Si trail, one of the more popular hikes in King County, along with the famed Mount Si trail, starts out steep, levels out a bit and tests hikers of all ages with a steep and rough finish.

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Discover Pass is required for state parks, recreation lands July 1

June 28, 2011

Summer days spent lounging lakeside at Lake Sammamish State Park or hiking in Tiger Mountain State Forest start to cost most users a fee soon.

The cash-strapped state is preparing to debut the Discover Pass on July 1, just as the Fourth of July weekend causes attendance to swell at state parks and recreation lands. The permit is required to park vehicles at state recreation sites and other public lands.

The base price for the annual pass is $30, although consumers should expect to shell out another $5 in fees. The day-use pass — base price: $10 — carries $1.50 in additional fees.

State officials maintain the pass is necessary to avoid closing state parks and other sites to public access, but outdoors enthusiasts said the requirement serves a barrier to parkgoers, and could cause attendance to drop.

The pass is needed for parking access to 7 million acres of state recreation lands under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Natural Resources, and state Department of Fish and Wildlife. State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, campgrounds, trails and trailheads.

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