State parks celebrate birthday with 'free day' on Wednesday

Washington State Parks turns 101 years old on Wednesday, March 19, and visitors are invited to help celebrate by getting out to enjoy a state park for free that day.

With the 2014 spring and summer season just around the corner, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission reminds the public that there are recreation opportunities available 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 2014, when visitors are not required to display the Discover Pass to visit a park.

“We’re hoping that you’ll get out on Wednesday to a state park in your area and just remind yourself of the treasures we have in our state,” said Commission Chair Lucinda Whaley of Spokane. “The State Parks free days give people a chance to sample some of the beauty of the park system – and then we hope you’ll support your state park system and buy your Discover Pass. Revenues from the pass are very important because they allow us to keep operating parks and services.”

For information about Discover Pass, visit online at

Free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass, a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 “free days” each year when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. Discover Pass is required to access DFW and DNR Lands on State Parks free days.

2014 State Parks free days are as follows:

• January 19 and 20 – in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

• March 19 – Washington State Parks birthday

• April 19 – A spring Saturday “free day”

• April 22 – Earth Day

• May 11 – A spring Sunday “free day”

• June 7 and 8 – National Trails Day and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Free Fishing Weekend

• June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day

• Aug. 25 – National Park Service birthday

• Sept. 27 – National Public Lands Day

• Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations, and day access is included in the overnight fee. The Discover Pass does not replace the Sno-park permit requirement for use of Sno-Park winter recreation sites.

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