Discover Pass free days extended to all state recreational lands


OLYMPIA — Discover Pass free days will soon be extended to all state recreational sites and lands.

Gov. Jay Inslee on March 17 signed a bill that will extend where people without Discover Passes can get in free.

State parks designate 12 days each calendar year when entry is free, no day fee or Discover Pass needed. Under the bill signed Thursday, those days will now include all Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Natural Resources and State Parks and Recreation Commission sites and lands.

The bill passed unanimously out of the Legislature.

The three departments that run state lands must work together to designate 12 days each year when access is free, and they should, if possible, coincide with National Parks free days.

Supporters of the bill said there is some confusion over which state lands fall under the free days, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife tries not to enforce on free days because of the confusion.

Extending them to all recreational lands will make it easier and less confusing for people to access public lands, Brian Considine, legislative director at the Department of Natural Resources, told legislators in January.

Republican lawmakers pushed this session to make state parks free for everyone, but no bill to do so made it through this year.

Democrats also discussed making state parks and fairs free, using the unprecedented amount of additional revenue they had when writing their budget. That proposal also did not make it into the final budget.