Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Washington (the state) imagination may help keep parks open

In Washington State, the legislature is mucking its way through another special session, attempting to deal with a multi-billion dollar cash shortfall. On the chopping block? State parks. It was no great news, as the park system had already been put on notice that they'd be knocked off state budget support in 2013.

Since that time, various funding "alternatives" have been floated. Forcing park visitors to buy an access pass was one of the "finger in the dike" ideas that leaked. First, state residents weren't too keen on buying a pass to get into a so-called publicly owned park. Then when they found the pass was good for only one vehicle, two (or more) car families got sore.

The "Discover Pass" plan is far from going like a house afire. Sales of the pass are far, far less than imagined, and certainly far from taking care of the parks' needs. Now with the legislature back in Olympia, scuttlebutt has it the lawmakers may move to allow the Discover Pass to be used in more one car. It may help, but as a for-sure life support method, it's not expected to make it.

So the state parks folks are talking creativity. Here's a novel approach--reduce fees when use is lower, enticing campers to come in during the off-season and the off-times of the week. If football stadiums can have sponsors, why not parks? How about, "The Budwiser Visitor Center at Twin Harbors Beach" as an example? "Alternative" camping might see a push in growth. Where parks have rental structures like yurts and cabins, non-RVing folks sometimes push up the revenue stream.

Washington's park system is a gem. With a little imagination, maybe locking the gems away behind the bars of "Closed for Lack of Funding" won't be necessary.

Lake Wenatchee State Park, Washington State Parks Photo

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yes, you can -- camping at Mt. Rainier in the winter

When most boondockers think boondocking, they think of the national forests and snowbirding in the warm southwestern deserts.

But if you can't get away for the winter but still want to do some winter camping, Mount Rainer National Park is opening up some areas of the park for RV camping without hookups.

RVs will be allowed in the Paradise lower parking lot or the upper parking lot across trom the Paradise Inn as well as at Narada Falls and Longmire. A new webcam went online last week showing the view of Longmire.

Mounted on the second floor of the administration building, the camera looks toward the Longmire Museum and the road leading up from the Nisqually Entrance, with the National Park Inn hidden behind the trees in the distance. There also are six additional webcams at Paradise and one at Camp Muir. You can find the webcams here.

Extreme cold weather RV camping requires some extra safety precautions and planning to stay both safe and warm. Some tips and adv ice for winter camping can be found here.

Winter snow camping is not for all of us, but Mount Rainier makes it possible to try it out under favorable conditions with help--if needed--near by.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Skiing, RVing combine at Oregon's Hoodoo

If you're a snow skiing fan and an RVer, you can combine your passions at Oregon's Hoodoo Ski Area on Santiam Pass. Catering to both downhill and cross-country skiiers, the Forest Service offers year-around RV sites--just be sure you've got plenty of propane!

Considered by some to have one of the best day lodges in the ski industry, Hoodoo's snowy attributes include a 1,035-foot vertical drop, five chairlifts, two tow ropes, a carousel, and an autobahn tubing hill. For the Nordic fans, you'll find a 7.5 kilometer groomed track, and an 8.3 kilometer Skyliner trail, groomed on weekends and holidays. The trail fee is $14.

What about RV camping at Hoodoo? It's not too difficult to find a spot Sunday through Thursday, but reservations for the weekends are definitely recommended. If you simply want to take your RV up for the day, and not overnight it, there's free parking available. Overnighters will pay a fee, but it includes electric hookups. A standard width site (11') with electric runs $30 a night, while a wider (15') site will cost you $35 to $40 depending on the choice of site. Don't need electric? You can camp overnight for just $15. Die-hard enthusiasts can even pay for monthly, even seasonal camping privileges.

For more information, check out the ski area's web site.

photo: Cåsbr on

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two campgrounds to open In Washington's Tahuya State Forest

Good news for RVers who like to camp in Tahuya State Forest: The Washington State Department of Natural Resources will reopen two campgrounds — Camp Spilman and Kammenga — on December 1. The campgrounds were closed in 2009 due to budget cuts, along with about 40 other trailheads and campgrounds across the state.

Now, with the help of grant funding from the Nonhighway and Off-road Vehicle Activities (NOVA) program and revenue from the Discover Pass, DNR is able to reopen these popular campgrounds, just west of Belfair in Mason County.

No more reservations: Tahuya Horse Camp
In addition to reopening these two campgrounds, DNR will be doing away with the reservation system at the Tahuya River Horse Camp, beginning January 6.

All three camps will be on a first-come; first-served basis. The horse camp is open for weekends only; Camp Spilman and Kammenga are open seven days a week.

Keep in mind there is no garbage service at Tahuya State Forest. So pack out what you pack in. In addition, the maximum stay limit at these campgrounds is 10 days in a 30-day period.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Future of Lost Lake Resort near Tacoma uncertain. Big problems.

Buyers at Lost Lake Resort on the outskirts of Yelm, thought they were purchasing a little slice of heaven. The resort was pitched as a place where they could spend the summer months of their retirement years living in peaceful seclusion on 130 acres of pristine wilderness.

They could grab a fishing rod and walk to “an 11-acre private lake generously stocked with rainbow trout.” Or enjoy amenities such as tennis courts, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool and spa, or a clubhouse with a pool table, pingpong and shuffleboard.

But several RV lot owners at Lost Lake Resort say dreams of easy living have collapsed because of the resort’s developer, Jeffrey Graham, 48, of Tacoma, and the complications of his financial meltdown.

Some buyers say they still don’t have deeds for properties they paid up to $60,000 for. Others have had to sue to try to get their deeds for properties whose values have grossly depreciated because of the resort’s problems and the sour real estate market.

Graham says he’s done everything in his power to get deeds to buyers and to fix the facilities at the resort. Nevertheless, there is big trouble in what was once billed as a paradise.

Read the complete story in the Tacoma Tribune.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

For a $5 permit you can cut your Christmas tree in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

With thoughts of Santa Claus and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer arriving earlier each year, forest officials jumped on the bandwagon also by announcing that permits are now on sale for cutting of Christmas trees in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

The permits, which cost $5, are valid in most of the forest's 4 million acres, except for those areas designated as administrative sites or tree plantations.

You can purchase a permit at the forest headquarters at 215 Melody Lane in Wenatchee or at selected area retail stores. The permits will also serve as parking permits at trail heads until the first snow fall, after which those lots become Sno-Parks, and tree hunters will need a state Sno-Park permit to leave their vehicles there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Time to start planning for Washington camp host positions

It's not too early to start planning for a camp hosting position next summer in a Washington State Park. Some positions are open year round as well.

The host program offers volunteers the opportunity to stay and have fun in beautiful and diverse park settings while gaining experience in park operations and visitor services.

Hosts represent state parks by greeting the public and helping set the tone for a pleasant stay. They assist park staff and perform a variety of tasks depending on the park and the type of host assignment. Hosts receive free camping and hookups in exchange for performing these duties. A typical host assignment is 30 days. This may be extended up to 90 days at the park manager’s discretion. Hosts must provide their own RV and camping equipment. Hosts, whether couples or individuals, should enjoy working with the public, have the desire to accept new challenges and possess the willingness to learn about Washington state parks.

Learn more at the Washington State Park website.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Early Pacific Northwest settlement evident at Ebey's Landing NHR

Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve does not look like your average National Park, since it is composed almost entirely of historic privately-owned properties.

However, it is managed cooperatively with federal, state, and private entities and tells a continuing story of early exploration and settlement in the Pacific Northwest.

The nation’s first historical reserve, Ebey’s Landing surrounding picturesque Coupeville, Washington on Whidbey Island protects a rural working landscape and community on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. Much of the reserve, with its rich agricultural prairies, woodlands, shorelines and historic structures, appears to today's visitors much as it did a century ago.

One hundred year-old farms are still active, forests are harvested, and century-old buildings still serve as homes or businesses. The historic waterfront town of Coupeville, located within the Reserve boundary, still serves as the county seat.

You’ll find plenty of recreational opportunities including camping, hiking and biking. Spectacular views of beaches, water and mountains and an abundance of birds and wildlife add to the allure.

Learn more about Ebey's Landing on the National Park Service website.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cold weather quells visits to newest Oregon state park

Oregon's newest state park, was dedicated only weeks ago. But the party may already over--for the season at least--as the cold weather sweeping through the Blue Mountains is making Bates State Park a little less than desirable.

Bates is the first state park in the system east of the Cascades in three decades. It's not huge, scaling in at only 131 acres, but it is far from the crowds, and near some nice fishing, sitting alongside the middle fork of the John Day River.

Not considered a "destination" park, it's probably one that local RVers will love for just dropping in on the spur of the moment, or for travelers with rigs to "stumble on" when sight seeing. They'll find 34 camp sites, 28 of them suitable for fully self-contained RVs. The other six are set aside for bicyclists or hikers.

There's a bit of history here, too. Bates was once a company town supporting a lumber mill. From 1917 through the end of the 1960s, the mill thrived. In the hey-days, as many as 400 workers and their families lived in company-provided homes. Time and technology overtook the mill in the 1970s and it closed in 1975. The families vanished and the buildings were either moved or torn down.

Come October 31, another vanishing will take place. As the winter chill moves in, park officials will close down until next spring.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Washington's "Discover Pass" rescue ride may not be enough

When the Washington State Legislature decreed that their state parks must do more to be self-sustaining, they created a new program called "Discover Pass." In order to access many of Washington's public lands, including the state parks, folks are in many cases being required to pony up more money for access passes. Read that $35 a year, or $11.50 a day. At the time, the lawmakers also provided "bridging" funds to help the park system wean itself over to being totally self-sustaining.

A few problems have shown up with the system, the greatest of which is the economy. Recently Washington's governor called for yet another special legislative session to try and sort out a projected revenue shortfall of nearly one and a half billion dollars. Agencies are being asked to come up with plans to chop their budgets by 10%. With state parks already mandated into being self-sustaining, lawmakers are looking at chopping off some of those bridge funds.

"Discover Pass is not bringing in the revenue so far that we hope it will," says Washington Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island. "We still have to do some tweaks. The reality is, we have to raise money from the Discover Pass to keep our parks open. We are not going to get rid of the Discover pass."

To try and make the Discover Pass more accessible, the state now makes it possible for residents to buy the pass when they renew their motor vehicle tabs. That's salt in the wound to some. The Discover Pass is tied directly to a given vehicle. Buy the pass for your pickup truck used when hunting on public lands, you can't move it to your motorhome to go make a visit to a state park. At $35 a pop, some residents are seeing red.

State legislators say that wasn't their intent, and want to fix the problem in the next session. A few weeks ago a group of lawmakers met and signed off a letter to two state land agencies, asking them not to write tickets to folks who "transfer" their pass from one vehicle to another. But news reports indicate that the letter evidently hasn't had the desired effect. One law enforcer for the state's Fish and Wildlife Department told the Spokesman Review newspaper, "We’re not being advised (by superiors) to not enforce the law, let’s put it that way."

Stevens Canyon Road closed in Mt. Rainier National Park

Due to extensive roadway embankment stabilization and subsurface compaction grouting efforts, Stevens Canyon Road is closed between the gate located just west of the Grove of the Patriarchs to just east of the popular Backbone Ridge viewpoint through the 2011-2012 winter season. Visitors will be able to access the Reflection Lakes, Box Canyon and Backbone Ridge areas and adjacent trailheads from the west during the fall 2011 closure.

During the closure, visitors can access the Paradise area only from the southwest via the Nisqually Entrance at the east end of SR 706. Visitors traveling from the east via SR 410, SR 123, and/or US 12 who wish to visit the Paradise area can detour via SR 7 beginning in Morton on US 12 and ending on SR 706 at Elbe. (US 12 may have delays due to road work, for more information check the Washington State Department of Transportation WASDOT).

The park service notes that while the construction, closures, and traffic delays present an inconvenience, the rehabilitation work will not only improve the driving surface of the roadway, but ensure its longevity.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fort Casey State Park closed now, will soon offer electric hookups

Western Washington's Fort Casey State Park will soon offer electrical hook-up campsites. But for now, stay away: the campground is closed for the upgrade. It is expected to reopen Oct. 20, 2011. The day-use areas will remain open during the construction.

The project, which includes the installation of underground electrical and water line repairs will upgrade 14 standard campsites to electrical hook-up campsites.

“We have had numerous requests from our park visitors to provide this amenity,” said Park Ranger Ken Hageman. “The hook-up sites also will allow year round use of the campground.”

Fort Casey State Park is a 467-acre marine park located near Coupeville on Whidbey Island and features a lighthouse and sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Campsites are available first come, first served. A coast artillery post features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display. The park features 10,810 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound (Admiralty Inlet), and includes Keystone Spit, a two-mile-plus stretch of land separating Admiralty Inlet and Crocket Lake.

The park campground has one restroom and shower. The maximum size RV is 40 feet. Campsites are located next to the Keystone ferry terminal, which makes walking on the ferry for a visit to pretty Port Townsend a snap. Camping fees range from a primitive site for $12 a night to $27 for partial hookups. The dump fee is free to campers, $5 for others.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A big day for Mount Rainier volunteers

Coming up this weekend: National Public Lands Day, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Washington's Mount Rainier National Park is looking forward to masses of folks coming to plant native plants, maintain trails, and rededicate the Glacier Basin Trail after four summers of repairs. The work day will cap a highly successful season during which about 2,000 people have contributed to the protection of Mount Rainier’s natural and cultural treasures and helped serve its visitors.

Volunteerism has a major impact at the big mountain park. Last year, 2,016 volunteers contributed 73,990 hours of service, an effort valued at $1.54 million. Park officials are hoping that this weekend's volunteers will make a huge difference in this last big push for the season. Of course, the Washington venue is just one of many across the country. More than 120,000 individuals are expected to participate in events all over the nation. In recognition of this, entrance fees will be waived at all national parks for the day. Volunteers will receive an additional coupon for free admission on a day of their choice.

At Mount Rainier, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Washington Trails Association will help coordinate the event and lead volunteer projects. Participants may register at the event, or pre-register by e-mailing Mariely Lemagne at Volunteers will sign in at the amphitheater in White River Campground, in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Beware that the Stevens Canyon Road in the park is closed due to construction. The White River Campground can be reached via State Highways 410 or 123.

Volunteers of all ages will help with revegetation efforts at Sunrise and with several trail projects near White River Campground. Come prepared for cool, wet weather, with warm clothing, rain gear, sturdy footwear, and gloves. If the weather is nice, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are recommended. Volunteers should also bring water, snacks, and a lunch. Volunteers will re-gather at the amphitheater in White River Campground at 3:30 p.m. for a more informal celebration, with refreshments provided by the Washington Trails Association.

Information about Mount Rainier’s volunteer program, including a list of open positions, a calendar of activities, and pictures and videos of volunteers in action may be found on Mount Rainier National Park’s website at, or on its volunteer program blog at

photo: Mount Rainier National Park Volunteer, courtesy NPS. GOV

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kopachuck trees memorialized

Last June we wrote about the dilemma facing Washington State Parks' officials when a tree disease was discovered in Kopachuck State Park. The disease made it hazardous for folks to stay in the park, as diseased trees could fall without notice. What to do? Close the park until the situation sorted itself out, taking a period of years, or cut the diseased trees down?

Park officials took the public pulse and decided it was better to cut the trees down and reopen the park. But those majestic evergreen trees are close to the heart of the people, and so one official with feelings went a step farther than just saying, "Fire up the chain saws!" State Parks Commissioner, Pat Lantz, felt a stirring within herself and called up an artist friend and told her of the impending demise of Kopachuck's trees.

“When Pat told me about the situation, the image that came to my mind was of intertwined roots, of all the trees’ roots connected together,” Robin Peterson told a reporter from The Kitsap Sun. “I knew I wanted to bear witness to this sad process, even though it’s a natural thing.” Peterson contacted other artists and they put together a gathering of art folks to record the giant trees before the arrival of the woodsman and his ax.

The artists have put together an exhibit of their work entitled, “Intertwined — Requiem for the Trees,” that will be shown at Gig Harbor, Washington's Harbor History Museum. We'll update you when the dates for the show are released.

UPDATE 9/15/2011: Robin Peterson tells us that the show dates are set. "Intertwined, Requiem for the Trees" exhibit will be held at the Harbor History Museum September 30th through October 17th. A reception will be held on Friday, September 30th from 5:30 - 7:30 pm.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Oregon State Park in works--but no hookups

Oregon State Parks officials are in the process of closing a deal on over 8,000 acres of ranchland 60 miles southeast of The Dalles. The acreage, running alongside the John Day River, will become Oregon's second largest State Park, dubbed Cottonwood Canyon. The new park is slated to open in
September of 2013. Although 8,000 acres is large amount of land, it's possible the state will wrangle a deal with the the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to mix in another 10,000 acres of federal land from their jurisdiction.

What will this new park be like? In the view of Park's officials, "development" of the land itself will be minimal. The major constructs will be the visitor center at State Highway 206 where it crosses the John Day. There, plans call for a "small campground" and a boat launch. Six miles farther downstream in the Hay Creek area, plans call for another campground, although this will be a "walk in" camp.

For RVers, the question is: What kind of amenities will we find? RVers will be welcomed, but don't look to see full hookups. Whether that means electrical will be available for the high temps of summer remains to be seen, but full hookups are out.

State planners are looking at recreational values that center on the river, including the possibility of concessions operated float trips, and hiking trails through the grasslands of the area. Horses and riders are another possible constituency that will look to the new park. From the looks of the park's blog, they'll be plenty of wildlife and bird watching to be done.

We'll keep you posted as more information on the development of this new park becomes available.

photos: oregon parks and recreation

Thursday, July 7, 2011

RV tips for Idaho state parks

Idaho may be famous for potatoes, but for RVers, camping should rank right up there. From quiet river or lakeside fishing holes, to spectacular mountain views, the Gem State has it. Planning on a little RVing in Idaho? Here are a few tips:

Camping Rates: While some states are predictable when it comes to rates, not so in Idaho. State park camping fees vary from park to park, and you could be in for a surprise. To cut the surprise element out, point your web browser to the state's official park web site here. Once there, click the "find a park" function and get thee to the park of your choice. Now click on the "stay overnight" tab to find out your fee.

Internet: If you've to to have your Internet fix, TK Idaho State Parks now have wifi access through a commercial provider. The first 20 minutes on-line are free, afterwards a $3 daily access fee applies. For a map of state parks currently providing access (and a list of "coming soons") click to this website.

Farragut State Park, Athol, Idaho, David Blaine on

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wildlife making unwelcome visits in Olympics

Visitors to Washington's Olympic National Park and National Forest report unnerving experiences with wildlife in the last few days.

On June 14, a hiker named Jim Decker got an unexpected taste of nature when he ran across a mountain goat with a pugnacious attitude. Decker and his wife were enjoying a hike on the Mount Rose Trail near Lake Cushman. Somehow the couple became separated, but Decker soon had company. A mountain goat with a nasty attitude soon began to pursue Decker down the trail chasing him nearly a mile. At a clearing Decker dropped his pack and drew a knife, expecting the worst. However, a group of approaching hikers apparently tipped the balance in the goat's mind, and it left.

Three days later, northwest across the peninsula, rangers began receiving reports about a steamed up cow elk at the Olympic National Park's Hoh Campground. On that Friday, the elk demolished a tent in the campground, and subsequently charged a ranger's patrol car. Over the weekend rangers carefully watched the cow, "hazing" her when she came too near campers by sounding off loud noises. The wait-and-see attitude of the rangers reached a head, when on Monday the elk charged two more vehicles. Park officials felt they had no choice at that point, and shot the elk, sending samples of her brain to a lab for analysis.

Last fall, another Olympic National Park visitor was killed when gored by an aggressive mountain goat. That animal too, was destroyed. Park officials say many of the Roosevelt elk in the park are getting "habituated" that is, getting accustomed to humans--often by taking handouts. They repeatedly warn visitors to not approach wildlife closely, as elk are known to charge. In the case of the not-so-charming mountain goats, officials have posted signs warning hikers of potential run-ins.

stock photos: elk--US Fish & Wildlife; mountain goat--MiguelVieira; both on

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Washington state park on horns of dilema

Like many of the park systems around the nation, Washington State is struggling with economics. With fewer and fewer dollars being handed out by the legislature, parks are struggling to 'make it' with locally generated revenue: Read that park fees.

One of the revenue jewels of the Washington State Parks' system is 109-acre Kopachuck, a boat-in and drive-in camping park. In these days of budget (and throat) cutting, Kopachuck is a revenue producing park--the money gleaned from campground fees actually offsets operational costs. But trouble has appeared in this paradise, not in the form of a serpent, but rather a fungus called Phellinus weirii. Phellinus infesting conifirs can produce a serious illness called laminated root rot.

After trees fell in another Washington state park, officials set out on a health-care check of all other parks. Tree biologists found laminated root rot in the huge fir trees surrounding Kopachuck's campground. It's a kind of insidious thing: The big trees look just fine, until one day, they simply keel over and crash into the ground, taking picnic baskets, tents, and unfortunate bystanders with them.

Left to themselves, the big fir trees have a cure for the problem: Once the tree dies, the root rot dies along with it. The trouble is, it can take a long time for the trees to finally fall over and "take out" the fungus with them. Meantime, the state worries about the potential liability issues. An alternative solution is to cut down the infected trees and sell them off as timber before the root fungus kills the tree. Not everyone likes the idea, even though there would be a short-term gain from the sale of the timber. But here's another bug in paradise: Kopachuck is also home to bark beetles, which find dead wood a great meal. But if you stress the forest by cutting down diseased trees, the bark beetle population will explode, and they may start taking to healthy, living trees.

It's a damned-if-you, damned-if-don't proposition. So far the state agency that oversees the park hasn't decided what to do. To protect visitors they have closed the campground, leaving the beach and day-use area open. Some worry this could leave Kopachuck vulnerable to the next legislative session's round of budget cutting axe wielders. Without the revenue producing side of the park up and running, the park will fall into the realm of a budget-sucker, ripe for closing up.

photos: Kopachuck beach scene, kfkirsch on; laminated root rot, B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mount Rainier National Park launches Twitter page

Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga has announced the launching of the parks official Twitter page. Follow the park at!/MountRainierNPS to discover news as it's happening, learn more about park topics that are important to you and get the inside scoop in real time.

Before you leave home, or during a stop while en route to the park, check the park out on Twitter. Is the parking lot full at Paradise? Are the roads open throughout the park? Are there any emergency situations that will affect your visit? Keep up-to-date on road and facility openings and closures, emergency situations, special events, and watch for other noteworthy and timely tweets.

Future plans for park social media include Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages. The best place to learn about the launching of these sites is on the Official Mount Rainier National Park Twitter page!

Camp hosts always needed at Washington State Parks

Volunteers play a vital role in sustaining Washington State Parks, providing more than 300,000 hours of service each year. Opportunities are available across the state for a variety of short- and long-term projects.

Volunteers serve as camp hosts, assist in visitor centers and answer questions from the public; maintain and restore trails; give museum tours and interpret history; and provide routine maintenance such as mowing lawns.

The Camp Host program is of particular interest to many RVers. The positions offerenthusiastic and interested volunteers the chance to stay and have fun in beautiful and diverse park settings while gaining experience in park operations and visitor services. Hosts are needed year round in most Washington state parks.

They greet campers, answer questions and perform light maintenance particular to the park. This may include litter pick up, raking campsites or lawn mowing. Hosts may assist with other projects around the park based on the parks needs and the hosts’ skills and interests.

Hosts receive free camping and hookups in exchange for performing these duties. A typical host assignment is 30 days. This may be extended up to 90 days at the park manager’s discretion. Hosts must provide their own RV and equipment. Hosts should enjoy working with the public, have the desire to accept new challenges and possess the willingness to learn about Washington state parks.

Learn more at the Washington State Park website.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fee required beginning July 1 to visit Washington State Parks

Beginning July 1, Washington will charge a $30 annual fee or $10 a visit to its state parks and other state-managed recreation lands.

Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill May 12 creating a new Discover Pass. "I applaud the Legislature for coming together with a solution that allows us to help keep our state recreation lands open and accessible during the worst budget crisis in the state's history," she said.

An annual vehicle pass is $30 with a day pass $10. Beginning July 1, visitors will need to display the Discover Pass on their vehicle when visiting state recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.

At certain designated locations visitors will be able to park for up to 30 minutes without the pass. Campers do not need to pay the fee, only for their campsite. Also, anyone holding a Sno-Park winter-recreation pass and hunting or fishing license for certain state-managed lands do not need a Discover Pass.

Visitors can purchase passes online or from 600 retail outlets that also sell hunting and fishing licenses. It will be available mid-June. Beginning in the fall of 2011, Washington residents will be able to purchase the Discover Pass through the state Department of Licensing vehicle registration and tab renewal process.

Beginning July 1, 2011, you will need to display the Discover Pass on your vehicle when visiting state recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.