The Spokesman-Review

Washington park pass proposed by agencies

Three Washington agencies are asking state lawmakers to institute a $30 yearly pass that would allow people to recreate on state lands.

The pass idea is backed by the state Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as the Washington departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife.

Demand for outdoor recreation is growing even as state funding is falling, agency officials said. Revenue from the passes would be used to keep state lands open for public recreation, while providing maintenance and law enforcement.

The passes, if approved, would raise about $71 million over a two-year budget cycle. The revenue would partially offset reductions in state general fund money to the agencies.

“We need a new way to fund recreation, and a user-pay model seems to be the fairest – those who use parks pay for them,” said Don Hock, state parks director.

According to the proposal, the “Discover Pass” would cost $30 per year per vehicle or $10 for day use. Free annual passes would be available to volunteers who donate at least 40 hours for projects sanctioned by the agencies.

The proposal is outlined in two companion bills, SB 5622 and HB 1796.

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