I’d like to think that purchasing a Washington State Parks Discover Pass means no further hassles as long as the pass is not expired and displayed while parked.

Enforcement and over supervision are the first impressions of an afternoon getaway.

Driving over to the local state park these days is like asking permission to enter a military base.

Old policy:

People who need to register to camp must stop at the guard shack to sign in & pay.

People who are in the middle of their camping stay & people who have already purchased a valid daytime parking pass use the lane provided to bypass the cars, RVs and camp trailers waiting in line to register.

New policy:

A portable stop sign has been set up to get both lanes of inbound traffic to stop and show the pass before entering the park.

Twice now, I have stopped to show the pass and then I have been reminded to remember to display the pass properly after parking so that I do not receive a citation. Elementary school field trip levels of supervision are in place. I am an adult. If I have done nothing wrong, please let me travel along without any forced interaction with parks staff. The parks are where we go to get away from the grind of everyday life. Let’s go with innocent until proven guilty sorts of protocols here.

In Washington, you may use your discover pass for two vehicles. Vehicle license numbers must be recorded on the pass for the pass to be valid.

Down in Oregon, you are free to enter state parks without being stopped and asked to show your parking pass.

In Oregon, there is no requirement to enter any vehicle license number on the pass. Driving a new car? A rental car? The church van? A borrowed car? Aunt Mary’s car on family reunion weekend? No problem. Enjoy your day.

People who are willing to purchase a parks pass should face a very minimum in the way of hassles. Oregon comes out way ahead of Washington on this.


Enjoy Washington’s Natural Heritage

Another Season – Another WA State Parks Checkpoint


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Photo- Indian Beach, Oregon