State Parks adds free days for later this year to replace April days lost to COVID-19 closures

  • Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 2:45pm
  • Life

Submitted by the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces two additional free days in 2020, which replace the two free days lost to COVID-19 related closures in April. On free days, visitors don’t need a Discover Pass for day-use visits by vehicle.

The first makeup-free day is Sunday, Sept. 13, to celebrate Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend, a national movement to get every girl scout into a state park. The second, Saturday, Oct. 10, recognizes World Mental Health Day, which supports State Parks’ participation in the nation-wide ParkRx movement to help people access nature’s health benefits. These days replace the Spring free day, April 11, and Earth Day, April 22.

Though most Washington state parks have reopened for day use and many have reopened for camping, the agency encourages visitors to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by recreating responsibly on free days and every other day. Visitors can find out which state parks are open here.

Responsible recreation includes:

Staying close to home.

Knowing what’s open before heading out.

Having a Plan B if a certain park is too crowded.

Keeping a social distance of at least 6 feet between households.

Bringing personal supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and face coverings.

Packing out what is packed in.

State Parks free days are in keeping with legislation that created the Discover Pass. The pass costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day permit and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, WDFW and the Department of Natural Resources. The Discover Pass legislation provided that State Parks could designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required for day-use visits to state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on WDFW and DNR lands.

The remaining 2020 State Parks free days are as follows:

Tuesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday

Sunday, Sept. 13 – Girls Scouts Love State Parks Day

Saturday, Sept. 26 — National Public Lands Day

Saturday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day

Wednesday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

Friday, Nov. 27 – Autumn Day

The Discover Pass provides daytime access to parks. Overnight visitors in state parks are charged fees for camping and other overnight accommodations, and day access is included in the overnight fee.