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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Park pass not raising expected revenue

Associated Press

TACOMA – Sales of a new Washington state park parking pass – the Discover Pass – is not raising the cash officials expected.

Lawmakers have mostly cut off parks from taxpayers’ help, whether or not the new $30 annual parking fee can fill the gap.

If the program fails, the parks agency would have to find new money or close most of the state’s 116 parks, the News Tribune reported in Sunday’s newspaper.

Some officials hope sales of the pass will improve during its first spring. But they worry people will continue to dislike the parking pass because it can’t be transferred from one car to another. That issue should come before the Legislature this winter.

The passes brought in $6.5 million from July 1 to Sept. 30, with parks taking the biggest share at 84 percent and the rest divided equally between the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The state hopes to raise at least $64 million in the first two years. State parks officials concluded from surveys that’s how much visitors would pay.

Seasonal differences aside, that’s an average of $2.7 million a month. Proceeds met that goal in July but dipped below it in August and then plummeted in September as summer faded.

Sales of $30 annual passes are the problem, not the $10 day-use passes.