PAT NEAL: Discovery Pass decision

IT WAS ANOTHER tough week in the news.

Blizzards, floods and wind hit so hard this wilderness gossip columnist got a case of the carpal tunnel syndrome just from emptying out the 3D rain gauge.

All of which has gone a long way to exacerbate the cabin fever pandemic currently sweeping the Olympic Peninsula.

The only glimmer of hope and good cheer that can possibly be offered in this bleak time of year is that at least the tourists are gone.

Tourists are a hassle.

That’s why we put a season on them.

When it’s tourist season it takes longer to get anywhere.

They are always clogging up the roads where it is a well-known fact that many of the tourists drive almost as bad as the locals.

Tourists clog up the checkout lines at our stores and shops buying a lot of silly junk they think they need for a quality recreational experience.

In recent years the tourist problem has gotten so bad it seems as if winter is the only time we natives can relax and enjoy ourselves.

When, if only for a brief period of relative calm, we can bask in the natural wonders of this emerald jewel in a state of relative solitude without the crowds, noise and endless questions of the tourist hordes.

It may be too early to talk about the severity of the coming year’s tourist season but it’s never too late to panic.

Tourist season is like the weather. Everybody complains but nobody does anything about it. Until now.

A recent Peninsula Daily News article, “Legislation to discard Discover Pass ‘dead,’ ” described the valiant efforts of our state lawmakers to protect us from the tourist threat and defend our cozy corner of paradise from those who would seek to journey here and disturb our peace and contentment with their big wallets, new cars and fancy RVs.

How was this miracle of public policy performed? With a steadfast refusal to eliminate the Discover Pass.

If you don’t know what a Discover Pass is, then you might as well be a tourist yourself because they usually don’t know what a Discover Pass is either. Until they get a $100 ticket for not having one. That’s when the tourists vow to leave Washington state immediately and never return, ever.

Problem solved.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

We don’t need tourists coming here spooking our iconic marmots, spying on our starving orcas and harassing our Sasquatch.

Thankfully, our courageous legislators have stepped up to the plate to grab the bull by the horns and deal with the tourist invaders by hitting them where it will do the most good, right square in the wallet

The Discover Pass is one of many state and federal permits required to be on public land in Washington.

These permits provide an important source of funding for permit enforcement while discouraging tourists from coming here and destroying our cherished way of life.

For far too long the invasive scourge of the tourist cabal has taken advantage of the hospitality and welcoming good nature of the good people of the Olympic Peninsula.

Some of the tourists think that — just because they come here with gobs of money and spend it like drunken sailors going to restaurants, hotels, motels and resorts while speeding around in their fancy rental cars in an endless orgy of shopping, eating and drinking — they can act like they own the place.

The fact remains the Discover Pass is the best defense we have against tourists.

I say if it ain’t fixed, don’t break it.


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing and rafting guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via