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Prepare to pay to visit area state parks

Beginning Friday, anyone visiting a nearby state park – Flaming Geyser, Nolte, Kanaskat-Palmer or Federation Forest – will be expected to pay a $10 daily fee. That is, unless the park guest has a $30 annual pass in hand.

It’s not all about state parks, as the pass also is required for vehicle access to all recreation lands and water-access sites managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. This includes state parks, boat launches, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, campgrounds, trails and trailheads. The pass must be purchased by anyone fishing in state waters or hunting on state land.

The Discover Pass is available for sale online and at recreational license dealers. In this area, the pass can be purchased at Work, Sports and Outdoors in Enumclaw; at the Fred Meyer stores in Bonney Lake and Sumner, Walmart in Bonney Lake and Greenwater General Store.

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

“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...we would have been closing park gates all over the state.”

That fear was evident just a couple of months ago when Federation Forest was on the chopping block and its demise had been well publicized. A last-minute decision was made to keep the park open.

Commissioner of Public Land Peter Goldmark defended the Discover Pass and attempted to put the cost into perspective.

“The Discover Pass will help ensure that the beautiful recreation lands of Washington state remain open for all to enjoy,” he said, adding that popular parks are being saved “for less than the cost to take the family out to the movies.”

There are several ways to purchase the Discover Pass:

• Online at www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

• At nearly 600 sporting goods and other retail stores that sell recreational fishing and hunting licenses. A vendor list is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/ or via a link from the Discover Pass website.

• By telephone, toll-free at 1-866-320-9933.

• At state parks, where staff is available.

• From state Department of Licensing vehicle license agents, beginning in the fall.

An annual 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 includes the $10 base price, a 10 percent transaction fee and a 50-cent dealer fee.

The Discover Pass must be visible in the front windshield of street-legal motor vehicles on state recreation lands. 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. For details on these and other exemptions, visit www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

There is a $99 penalty for failing to display the pass as required.

On the Fourth of July holiday weekend, public education and compliance with the new pass requirement will be emphasized, according to agency officials.

The Discover Pass was approved by the 2011 Legislature and signed in May by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

For questions or more information on Discover Pass sales call 1-866-320-9933.

 

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