Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is one of several local parks you can visit for free on Sept. 27 and Oct. 10. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park is one of several local parks you can visit for free on Sept. 27 and Oct. 10. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks

Four more “free days” planned for state parks

The upcoming dates are Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Nov. 11, and Nov. 27.

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will sponsor four more “free days” this year, meaning visitors will not need a Discover Pass for day-use visits.

The remaining 2020 “free day” schedule is as follows:

• Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day

• Saturday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day

• Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

• Friday, Nov. 27 – Autumn Day

The Enumclaw area is home to a trio of state venues: Nolte State Park, home to the popular Deep Lake; Flaming Geyser State Park, along the Green River; and Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, which boasts overnight camping, also on the Green River.

The park system had planned for two free days earlier in the year – April 11 and April 22 (Earth Day) – but both were lost to COVID-19 closures. Added to the schedule as makeup days were Sept. 13 (celebrating Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend, a national movement to get every Girl Scout into a state park) and the upcoming Oct. 10 day recognizing World Mental Health Day, which supports State Parks’ participation in the nationwide ParkRx movement to help people access nature’s health benefits.

State Parks free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass. The pass costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day permit and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, WDFW and the Department of Natural Resources. The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required for day-use visits to state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources lands.

State Parks encourages visitors to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by recreating responsibly on free days and every other day.

Responsible recreation includes: staying close to home; knowing what’s open before heading out; having a Plan B if a certain park is too crowded; keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet between households; bringing personal supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and face coverings; and, finally, packing out anything that is packed in.

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