OLYMPIA—The state’s new Discover Pass for vehicle access to state parks and recreation lands is available for sale at recreational license dealers and online.
The Discover Pass—providing access to 7 million acres of state park and recreation lands—will generate funding 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 to support State Parks, we would have been closing park gates all over the state.”
Beginning July 1, the pass is required for vehicle access to 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 Discover Pass will help ensure that the beautiful recreation lands of Washington State remain open for all to enjoy,” said Commissioner of Public Land Peter Goldmark. “For less than the cost to take the family out to the movies, we can keep popular places such as Mount Si, Capitol State Forest and Ahtanum State Forest open.”
There are several ways to purchase the Discover Pass:
• Online at http://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 this fall.
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 allows state natural-resource agencies to maintain public access to millions of acres of state recreation lands,” said Phil Anderson, WDFW director. “Sport fishers and hunters have traditionally supported WDFW wildlife areas and water access sites through their license fees; now all who enjoy these lands will share in their support.”
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 http://www.discoverpass.wa.gov.
There is a $99 penalty for failing to display the pass as required.
On the July Fourth holiday weekend—the first few days of Discover Pass implementation—public education and compliance with the new pass requirement will be emphasized, according to agency officials.
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.
For questions or more information on Discover Pass sales call 1(866) 320-9933.