Summer plans include any state parks? Better buy your pass

Beginning July 1, a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to any recreation lands and water-access sites managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, campgrounds, trails and trailheads.

The pass provides access to 7 million acres of state park and recreation lands, and will work to generate funding to keep those lands open following steep state budget cuts.

Revenue from the Discover Pass will fill budget gaps created by the loss of state general fund support for parks and state recreation lands. Revenue from pass sales will be divided among the three state agencies that manage state recreation lands in proportion to General Fund (tax-revenue) reductions: 84 percent to State Parks; 8 percent to WDFW; and 8 percent to DNR. The Discover Pass was approved by the 2011 Legislature (Senate Bill 5622) and signed in May by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

In addition to providing a stable source of revenue, the legislation provides reciprocal authority for law enforcement staff from each agency.

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

The annual Discover Pass fee is $30, and a one-day pass is $10. A Discover Pass purchased from a recreational license dealer, by phone or online will cost a total of $35, which includes the $30 pass fee, a 10 percent transaction fee and $2 dealer fee. A one-day Discover Pass costs a total of $11.50, which include the $10 base price, the 10 percent transaction fee, 50-cent dealer fee.

The Discover Pass must be visible in the front windshield of street-legal motor vehicles on state recreation lands, and failing to display the pass can result in a $99 penalty fee. Holders of certain types of fishing and hunting licenses, registered campers in state parks and certain others are not required to buy or display a Discover Pass.

The passes can be purchased at, by telephone at 1 (866) 320-9933, at state parks, or through nearly 600 sporting goods and retail stores. Visit for a list of participating retail stores.

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