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Governor signs Discover Pass into law

STATE LANDS -- Gov. Chris Gregoire today signed legislation authorizing the Discover Pass, a $30 annual vehicle permit ($10 daily) that soon will be required for access to Washington state parks and other state lands.

Starting July 1, the Discover Pass will be required for vehicle access to recreation lands and water-access sites managed by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, campgrounds, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, trails and trailheads.

Holders of certain types of fishing and hunting licenses, registered campers in state parks and other users are exempt from some Discover Pass requirements. For details, see the Discover Pass website

The pass will be available to purchase in mid-June.

Read on for details from today's signing.

Once available, the Discover Pass can be purchased at one of nearly 600 sporting goods or other retail stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses. It will also be available for purchase online or by calling toll free (866) 320-9933.

Beginning next fall, the public will be able to purchase a pass when renewing a vehicle license through the Washington State Department of Licensing. The Discover Pass or day-use pass must be visibly displayed in the front windshield of any motor vehicle.

“It is essential that we keep our recreation areas open to the public,” said Governor Gregoire. “I applaud the Legislature for coming together with a solution that allows us to help keep our state recreation lands open and accessible during the worst budget crisis in the state’s history.”

Revenue from the Discover Pass will fill budget gaps created by the loss of State General Fund support for parks and recreation on state lands. Revenue will be split among the three state agencies that provide recreational access to state lands in proportion to their need for general fund replacement: 84 percent to State Parks; 8 percent to WDFW; and 8 percent to DNR.

State Parks, WDFW, and DNR jointly requested legislation that led to the creation of the Discover Pass, intended to provide revenue to maintain recreation access to state lands and meet the increasing demand for outdoor recreation.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Islands, who conducted stakeholder work and coordinated with other legislators. In addition to providing a stable source of revenue, the legislation provides reciprocal authority for law enforcement staff from each agency, which will improve public safety and help protect state resources.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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