Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making the Discover Pass work better

The House passed a measure today that makes the Discover Pass more user-friendly while helping bring in more money for our state parks and recreational lands.
House Bill 2373, sponsored by Reps. Kevin Van De Wege and Steve Tharinger, makes changes to legislation from last year that ushered in a new user fee at our state parks.
Hoh Rainforest
Photo credit: IdLoveOne
One of the major changes came from massive constituent feedback.  The annual Discover Pass, which permits a vehicle to park for more than 15 minutes at any of our state parks, was initially not transferable among vehicles or family members.  Households with more than one vehicle complained about having to buy more than one pass, and sales didn’t live up to expectations, which ultimately meant less money for the parks.  In fact, the parks system is making deep cuts due to lack of anticipated funds.  While all parks will still remain open to the public, there will be deferred maintenance, and many park ranger positions are being cut or shifted from year-round to seasonal.
The bill advanced today allows the pass to be transferable between two vehicles, and also creates the opportunity for a “family pass” that will cost more than a Discover Pass but can be shared among all members of the same household.  As HB 2373 moves on to the Senate, supporters are hopeful it will make it all the way to the governor’s desk so that the changes can be implemented and many more Discover Passes can be sold this year than last.

To read this story in Spanish, please click here.