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Wednesday, October 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Recreationists may need more than one vehicle pass

People who recreate outdoors in the Pacific Northwest must tune in more carefully to requirements for vehicle passes – not only on state lands, but also on private and federal lands.

Access fees are a national trend.

Timber companies such as Potlatch and Inland Empire Paper are charging access fees and many – not all – national forests require parking passes.

Visitors to the Blue Mountains have to be especially pass savvy.

For example, a Discover Pass or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass will be required for camping at the state’s popular Wooten Wildlife Area south of Pomeroy.

But visitors who head farther up the Tucannon River Road will find the Umatilla National Forest requires vehicles to have a Northwest Forest Pass or equivalent federal vehicle pass for most trailheads and campgrounds.

Following is a guide to the primary passes required for Washington’s private, state and federal lands.


• Inland Empire Paper Co. Access Pass, required on 116,000 acres of private timber land in northeastern Washington.

Cost: $10 daily vehicle, $40 annual individual, $65 annual family.



Discover Pass, required for access to state-managed parks, lands, boat ramps and other sites.

Cost: $10 daily vehicle, $30 annual vehicle.

Purchase online, from retailers who sell hunting and fishing licenses, from retailers who sell Sno-Park permits and at some state parks.


Natural Investment Permit, allows access to State Parks watercraft launch sites and trailer dump stations, but not to other state lands covered by the Discover Pass.

Cost: $70.

Purchase through Washington State Parks.


Sno-Park Permit, allows access to plowed parking at winter recreation areas, such as Mount Spokane and Sherman Pass. Required Nov. 1-March 31.

Cost: $40, or $80 for areas with groomed nordic ski trails.

Purchase from local nordic ski shops or online.


Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass, comes with purchase of hunting or fishing licenses and permits vehicle access to state wildlife lands and access sites. However, licensed hunters and anglers need a Discover Pass to access lands or launch sites managed by DNR or State Parks.

Cost: Included in hunting or fishing license fee.

Purchase where hunting and fishing licenses are sold.



Interagency Annual Pass, the best overall value for frequent recreation on federal lands; covers entrance fees or standard amenity fees at sites managed by the Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management; covers pass holder and three accompanying adults. Names of two drivers can be put on the pass.

Cost: $80.

Similar passes are available to seniors for $10 and to disabled for free.

Upgrade is available to cover 26 Oregon state parks.

Purchase at the Bureau of Land Management office in Spokane Valley, REI or call (888) 275-8747. Daily passes available at sites.


Northwest Forest Pass: covers Forest Service operated sites in Washington and Oregon, including The Colville National Forest Bead Lake boat launch in northeastern Washington, all of the Blue Mountains, the Eagle Cap Wilderness trailheads in Oregon, and most of the popular Forest Service recreation sites in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and throughout Western Washington.

Cost: $5 vehicle daily; $30 vehicle annual.

Purchase at the Bureau of Land Management office in Spokane Valley, REI or call (888) 275-8747. Daily passes available at sites.


Migratory Bird Stamp (Duck Stamp): required for waterfowl hunters, but also purchased by conservationists to support wetland preservation; covers entrance fees to national wildlife refuges, such as Turnbull.

Cost: $15.

Purchase at U.S. Postal Service offices.


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