print story Print email this story to a friend E-Mail

tool name

close
tool goes here

Washington State Parks Free Entry Days

Visit state parks for free

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:39PM May 31st, 2018
GQQDRSET1.4

Washington State Parks

Park rangers are always on hand to answer visitors questions at Washington State Parks.

Upcoming free days

Saturday — National Trails Day

June 9 — National Get Outdoors Day

June 10 — Fishing Day

Aug. 25 — National Parks Service’s 102nd Birthday

Sept. 22 — National Public Lands Day

Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

Nov. 23 — Autumn Day

There are more than 100 state parks in Washington, and all of them will be free to visit Saturday.

It’s part of Washington State Parks’ State Parks Free Days in 2018 that began on New Year’s Day.

For the single day specials, no Discover Pass is needed.

Within the state’s legislation for the Discover Pass in 2011, a provision was made for state parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required. Days like Saturday can be an introduction to parks for a military family new to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Washington state.

“It’s a great way for anybody, especially families who are new to the area and want to get out and explore, see what’s out there and see what state parks have to offer,” said Toni Droscher, spokesperson for Washington State Parks.

Now it’s just a matter of where to escape the work week’s hustle and bustle to enjoy some of nature’s peace and tranquility.

Although there are plenty of parks within the Seattle-Tacoma area, some parks are worth an hour or so drive on the weekend.

Federation Forest State Park in Enumclaw is home of the Catherine Montgomery Interpretive Center, which provides interactive trails and a chance to learn about preservation.

North of Seattle in Kenmore is the Saint Edward State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. Nearby the Saint Edward’s Seminary, a historic feel to the park attracts families wanting to get away from the big city.

Another popular park is Twanoh State Park located in Union, on the West side of the Puget Sound in Mason County. It’s known for peaceful hiking trails and plentiful shellfish.

“The area itself is lovely, and you get some great views of the Olympic (mountains),” Droscher said.

But if you feel like going to a park closer to home, Droscher said Dash Point State Park in Federal Way, which is a popular place for skim boarding.

“The beach isn’t very rocky, so you’ve got a pretty smooth surface to scoot along on your skim board,” Droscher said.

In Olympia, the fourth annual Canoe Families Celebration at Millersylvania State Park will take place Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Families from the Nisqually, Chehalis and Puyallup tribes will provide canoe rides, along with native singers, tribal crafts and woodcarving demonstrations.

For those who can’t make it Saturday to a state park, free access for all state parks is available June 9 and 10. June 9 was selected to celebrate National Get Outdoors — a new annual event to promote healthy and active fun outside.

June 10 will be part of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Free Fishing Weekend through June 11. This event is designed to allow people to go fishing without the required license.

It’s also easy to get a Discover Pass. Some parks like Twanoh and Saint Edward each have automated pay stations to purchase either an annual pass for $30 or a one-day pass for $10.

“If (visitors) like what they see, they can maybe purchase an annual pass,” Droscher said. “I think it’s one of those try-it-before-you-buy-it kind of things.”

Purchase a pass online or learn more about Washington State Parks by visiting parks.state.wa.us.

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon