OLYMPIA — Are you interested in something for nothing and enjoy the great outdoors?
Circle March 19 on your calendar, because that’s when your two favorite things collide into a free day at a state park. There’s reason to celebrate the day — Washington State Parks turns 104 years old that day and visitors are invited to visit a state park for free.
With spring and summer just around the corner, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds the public that eight other days this year also will be free admittance days at state parks.
“Recreation opportunities abound in more than 100 parks, trails and recreation sites statewide,” State Parks Commission Chair Mark Brown said. “March 19 is the third of 12 state parks free days in 2017 when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass for day use visits to a park.
“I hope these free days will inspire people to get outdoors and explore some of Washington’s most scenic and iconic places,” Brown said. “With state parks located in such diverse landscapes — deserts, prairies, forests, rivers, lakes and the seashore — there’s something to draw out the adventurer in nearly everyone.”
The free days are a result of 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 Department of Natural Resources. The Discover Pass legislation provided that the department 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 WDFW and DNR lands.
The remaining 2016 state parks free days are as follows:
April 15 (Saturday) — Springtime free day
April 22 (Saturday) — Earth Day
June 3 (Saturday) — National Trails Day
June 10 (Saturday) — National Get Outdoors Day
25 (Friday) — National Park Service 101st Birthday
30 (Saturday) — National Public Lands Day
11 (Saturday) — Veterans Day
24 (Friday) — Autumn free 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.
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 http://parks.state.wa.us/winter.