Jan 19-20 kick off free days set for this year at state parks, federal lands

Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIA — People can visit state parks for free Jan. 19-20 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

It will be the first two of 12 days this year when a Discover Pass will not be needed to visit state parks.

In addition, federal agencies, including the National Park Service and Forest Service, will waive fees at most of their day-use sites on Jan. 20 in honor of MLK Jr. Day.

That day is the first of 10 fee-waiver days, including two weekends, offered by federal agencies during 2014.

The other scheduled fee-free days to be observed by federal agencies are Presidents Day weekend Feb. 15-17; National Get Outdoors Day on June 14; National Public Lands Day on Sept. 27; and Veterans Day weekend from Nov. 8-11.

Other free days for state parks are:

■ March 19 — Washington State Parks' anniversary.

■ April 19 — Spring Saturday Free Day.

■ April 22 — Earth Day.

■ May 11 — Spring Sunday Free Day.

■ June 7-8 — National Trails Day and state Department of Fish and Wildlife Free Fishing Weekend.

■ June 14 — National Get Outdoors Day.

■ Aug. 25 — National Park Service's anniversary.

■ Sept. 27 — National Public Lands Day.

■ Nov. 11 — Veterans Day weekend.

On the North Olympic Peninsula, several state parks are open now for at least partial use.

They are Bogachiel near Forks, Dosewallips near Brinnon, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, Fort Townsend and Fort Worden in Port Townsend, and Sequim Bay near Sequim.

Anderson Lake was closed Nov. 1 and will reopen the last Saturday in April.

During free days at state parks, a Discover Pass still will be required to be displayed on vehicles on lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife.

Annual Discover Passes are $30 each. One-day passes are $10 each.

$99 fine

Add $5 to the cost of the annual pass or $1.50 to that of the one-day pass for transaction and dealer fees if purchased at a license dealer, by phone or online.

The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.

The Discover Pass may be purchased online at www.discoverpass.wa.gov, by phone at 866-320-9933, in person from any of nearly 600 recreational license vendors where state fishing and hunting licenses are sold or at state parks headquarters and region offices, and at state parks when staff is available.

No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free.

The free days help to raise awareness that nature encourages healthy, active outdoor fun, according to a National Forest Service news release.

In addition to waiving fees, various Forest Service units participate in a variety of public events on agency lands and in nearby cities and towns.

Public Lands Day on Sept. 27 is the nation's largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands.

Agency units plan their own events, which range from educational programs to trash pickup to building trails.

Last modified: January 07. 2014 6:57PM
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