Thursday, April 21, 2011

Discover Pass will keep state parks open

Washington has 119 state parks, and until now, access to those parks has been free. Unfortunately, with a budget gap of more than $5 billion, legislators have had to find a new way to fund the management and maintenance of these lands and prevent closing or mothballing certain parks.

With today's passage of a bill to create a Discover Pass, Washington joins 41 other states across the nation that have some type of user-fee system for state parks, including neighboring states Idaho and Oregon.

Visitors can purchase a $30 annual pass that provides access not only to state parks, but recreational lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. For those not wanting an annual pass, visitors will have an option to pay a $10 day-use fee. The bill also calls for 12 days each year when entry to the parks will be free.

Read more about the bill here.

(Photo: Fort Flagler in Port Townsend - courtesy of Washington State Parks and Recreation Committee)

To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.