Deception Pass State Park. Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. File photo

Deception Pass State Park. Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. File photo

Free Park Days in 2021 start in January

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission will again offer 12 free days next year, in which day-use visitors won’t need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle. The first free day of 2021 is New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

State Parks free days are in keeping with 2011 legislation that created the Discover Pass, which costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day visit. The pass is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Discover Pass legislation directed State Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required to visit state parks. The free days apply only at state parks; the Discover Pass is still required on WDFW and DNR lands.

State Parks, in coordination with WDFW, will once again offer a free day on Sunday, June 13, as part of WDFW’s Free Fishing Weekend. This day, combined with the June 12 free day for National Get Outdoors Day, will give visitors an entire weekend to explore state parks for free.

The 2021 State Parks free days are:

■ Friday, Jan. 1 — First Day Hikes; New Year’s Day

■ Monday, Jan. 18 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

■ Friday, March 19 — State Parks’ 108th Birthday

■ Saturday, April 3 — Springtime free day

■ Thursday, April 22 — Earth Day

■ Saturday, June 5 — National Trails Day

■ Saturday, June 12 — National Get Outdoors Day

■ Sunday, June 13 — Free Fishing Day

■ Wednesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday

■ Saturday, Sept. 25 — National Public Lands Day

■ Thursday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

■ Friday, Nov. 26 — Autumn free day

Find a park here: parks.state.wa.us/findapark

WINTER RECREATION PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks. During the winter season, visitors to Sno-Parks will need Sno-Park permits, which are available for purchase online or from vendors throughout the state. For more information about winter recreation permit requirements, visit: parks.state.wa.us/winter.

ABOUT THE DISCOVER PASS

The Discover Pass offers visitors access to millions of acres of state recreation lands in Washington, including state parks, primitive recreation sites, water-access points such as boat launches, land and water trails, and natural and wildlife areas. Purchase of a Discover Pass helps keep the state’s wonderful outdoor recreation sites open and accessible to the public.


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