State Parks free day coming up

Washington turns 103 years old on Saturday, March 19, and visitors are invited to help celebrate by enjoying a state park for free that day.

With the 2016 spring and summer seasons just around the corner, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds the public that recreation opportunities abound in more than 100 parks, trails and recreation sites all over the state. March 19 is the third of 12 State Parks “free days” in 2016, when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass for day use visits to a park.

“Parks provide gathering places for families and social groups—individuals of all ages, cultures and economic status,” said Commission Chair Steve Milner of Chelan. “While we encourage everyone to invest in their state parks, free days present a special opportunity to those who have yet to experience the natural aesthetic and cultural heritage we preserve and to connect them with the generations of family and friends who preceded them.”

The “free days” are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass.

The pass costs $30 for an annual pass or $10 for a one-day permit and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the .

The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 “free days” when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on and DNR lands.

The remaining 2016 State Parks free days are as follows:

  • March 26– (Saturday) A springtime free Saturday
  • April 22– (Friday) Earth Day
  • May 8 – (Sunday) A springtime free Sunday
  • June 4– (Saturday) National Trails Day
  • June 11– (Saturday) National Get Outdoors Day
  • Aug. 25– (Thursday) National Park Service 100th birthday
  • Sept. 24 – (Saturday) National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 11– (Friday) Veterans Day

The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors in state parks are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations; day access is included in the overnight fee. For information about Discover Pass, visit www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov.

Note: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks. During the winter season, December through March, visitors to Sno-Parks will need Sno-Parks permits. For more information about winter recreation permit requirements, visit: washingtonstateparks.us/winter

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