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Discover Pass revenues increase, but still short of projections

Washington’s Discover Pass was introduced in 2011, requiring the $30 annual pass to enter state parks and most other state lands. Sales of the pass did not initially meet expectations, forcing the cash-strapped State Parks to issue pink slips to eliminate 160 of the agency’s 516 full-time employees. (Associated Press)
Washington’s Discover Pass was introduced in 2011, requiring the $30 annual pass to enter state parks and most other state lands. Sales of the pass did not initially meet expectations, forcing the cash-strapped State Parks to issue pink slips to eliminate 160 of the agency’s 516 full-time employees. (Associated Press)

STATE LANDS -- Revenue collected from sales of the Discover Pass was nearly $1 million higher than the previous year, according to a report prepared for the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission.

But it still falls short of funding the needs of state parks.

Sales in the second full year of the program generated almost $16.7 million, compared with $15.7 million in the first year.  The majority went to state parks, with the rest going to the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Even with the increase, the Discover Pass revenues fall short of the Washington Legislature's projections when it enacted the pass program.

The program was created to offset the loss of state funding through budget cuts. A $30 annual pass or $10 daily pass is required in motor vehicles accessing state parks and other state-managed recreation lands.

The Discover Pass program was projected to bring in $23.4 million in the first year. It managed only $13.2 million.

A report prepared for the state Parks and Recreation Commission says the state took in $32.4 million in the two-year budget cycle that ended June 30.

Parks officials hope that the trend of accepting the Discover Pass continues, boosted by legislative changes to allow families to use on more than one vehicle.



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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