Free park days, Junior Ranger Day this weekend

Day-use entrance fees will be waived Saturday at state parks and Saturday and Sunday at Olympic National Park, which also will celebrate Junior Ranger Day.

The fee-free days celebrate National Park Week.

Olympic National Park’s regular entrance fee is $25 per car. On fee-free days, other park fees, including wilderness camping and campground fees, will remain in effect. The Olympic National Park annual pass costs $50.

On Saturday, no Discover Pass will be needed to visit state parks, which on the North Olympic Peninsula are Bogachiel near Forks, Dosewallips near Brinnon, Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island, Fort Townsend and Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Anderson Lake State Park near Chimacum and Sequim Bay near Sequim.

The national park will host Junior Ranger Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center at 3002 Mount Angeles Road in Port Angeles.

Children must be accompanied by adults.

Participants in the year-round Junior Ranger program can complete activity booklets, attend ranger programs and explore park nature trails to earn Junior Ranger badges and certificates.

They can participate in the Ocean Stewards program and complete hands-on activity booklets to earn Ocean Stewards patches.

Saturday’s Junior Ranger Day activities will include ranger-guided walks, craft projects and outdoor games.

Microscopes inside the center will offer children up-close looks at insects while the Children’s Discovery Room will be open for play.

Children can hike and explore with park rangers and receive National Junior Ranger Day awards.

Children can explore a mock wilderness campsite as well as search and rescue equipment and emergency service vehicles.

Volunteers with the Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula Chapter will bring their animals and offer demonstrations throughout the day.

For information, go to http://tinyurl.com/PDN-2017juniorrangers.

Future free days for national parks are April 22-23, the second weekend of National Park Week; Aug. 25, the National Park Service anniversary; Sept. 30, National Public Lands Day; and Nov. 11-12, Veterans Day weekend.

The Discover Pass is a $30 annual or $10 one-day permit required on recreation lands managed by State Parks, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the state Department of Natural Resources.

The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on Fish and Wildlife and DNR lands.

Free days apply only to day use, not to overnight stays or facilities.

The next free days for state parks in 2017 are April 22, June 3, June 10, Aug. 25, Sept. 30, Nov. 11 and Nov. 24.

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