Archives for category: Washington State Parks

When the WA State Parks Discover Pass first came out it was for parking, not for access to parks.

The pass was not required for a short bathroom break:

“The new rules allow some leeway. At Battle Ground Lake, for example, four 15-minute parking spaces allow visitors to swing in for a bathroom break or to retrieve belongings they left behind. No pass required.”

Today- the pass is used as a credential to gain access to parks when they are constructed to allow a military style checkpoint at the park entrance.

Before the Discover Pass we had the original Natural Investment Pass. I have been paying for these passes since they came out early in this century.

My parent’s generation introduced me to Washington State Parks in the 1970s. Somehow, daytime visits to WA State Parks were covered by taxes in those days. We were able to get in & out of parks for the afternoon without any requirement to interact with state parks authorities or volunteers. The Park Ranger was the local expert and could provide info on beaches, birds, trees and animals to anyone who was interested.

Today- over supervision and enforcement is the vibe.


Midday April 15th, 2018

I arrive at Fort Ebey to get out for an hour or two. A portable stop sign has been placed at the park entrance. I stop and show my valid pass.

The response should have been Thank You.

We weren’t done yet. Having me stopped was a chance to deliver a mini-lecture/reminder that I should take care to properly display my Discover Pass when I park because a ticket was recently written for someone who did not do so.

I would have just driven on if all I was asked to do is show the pass- even though I do not believe this should be a requirement to enter the park. Reminders about properly displaying the parking pass and warnings about tickets feel like babysitting.

I told the park entrance person that I was old school and that I’d been using the parks since the 70s and that I don’t feel there is any need for a guilty until proven innocent checkpoint to look for parking passes.

If people have done nothing wrong they should be left alone to go about their day. Paying for the pass should mean not getting hassled on the way into the park.

Being stopped before parking to show the parking pass that is required to be displayed while parking (under threat of citation) seems redundant.

More here:

Wondering if something like 89 cents of each dollar collected for daytime parking fees goes towards funding enforcement related warning signs, kiosks, pay boxes, fluorescent placards, etc.

Enjoy Washington’s Natural Heritage

Nobody mans the checkpoint during the offseason. We are free to enter the park & display the pass after parking without any additional supervision or interaction with park staff.

Two Bluff Trails



Wondering if something like 89 cents of each dollar collected for daytime parking fees goes directly towards funding of the manufacturing, installation and maintenance of enforcement related warning signs, kiosks, pay boxes, fluorescent placards, and the manufacturing and distribution of enforcement related literature, blank forms and documentation materials.

Daytime parking pass fees are also used to fund the manufacturing, installation and maintenance of sturdy gates to keep you and your annual parking pass out of selected parks during winter months.

Park shown below (Rosario Beach) is located at sea level.

Welcome Visitors

Rent yourself a State Parks buoy at Fort Worden

Voted best consumer value in weekend recreation.


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What incentive do people have to wait a year for the first state authorized retail outlet to open?

Are state-licensed marijuana outlets relevant here?

Cities and counties in Washington State are not waiting on federal Drug Czar approval.

They are not waiting for the state to use up the next 12 months deciding on rules, authorizations and permissions for licenses & retail outlets.

They are not enforcing federal law.

They are throwing out marijuana cases involving untaxed product that were pending prior to election day.


Still wondering how high tax penalties will end the black market:

Study: Nearly 40 percent of cigs in Washington are contraband

Tax benefit expected from marijuana sales:

“The Office of Financial Management has concluded that taxes will raise $1.9 billion (that’s no typo, not “million” but “billion”) within five years.”

Maybe Washington State can sell the Discover Pass alongside their highly taxed marijuana-

“The Discover Pass, hastily rolled out last year as a new revenue source, hasn’t met expectations. The program – requiring state park visitors to pay $10 for a day pass, or $30 for a year – was projected to bring in $23.4 million in the first year. It managed only $13.2 million.”



Photo- Westbound on Route 66 – Texas 1988


This blog has been updated:

WA State Parks Revenue Checkpoints

Taking the fun out of WA State Parks


Taxpayers out $45,000 in Discover Pass sales-


Please visit beautiful Washington State.

Experience the beauty of hot air balloons lifting off near scenic wineries.

Plan your reunion here. Plan your convention here. Travel to spend your money here. Tell your nationwide RV club- this is the perfect destination.

Purchase your daytime parking passes in advance. Pull up to the park & get screwed with.

Please tell your friends.


No state money for parks: what next?


At Fort Flagler this past weekend- all vehicles had to wait in the camping registration line to show the pass they had already purchased.


I submitted a comment on this website (click twice to enlarge)

My comment:

“No delays or waiting in line for those who have a valid Discover Pass?

Not at Fort Flagler this past weekend- all vehicles had to wait in the camping registration line to show the pass they had already purchased.”

The comment was never posted/was screened out by moderators. 24 hours later the page was removed. The page was edited and reposted here.


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 waiting in line to register.


New policy?

Went to visit the park this afternoon- two orange cones were in place blocking off the lane normally used to bypass the camping registration procedure.

Several cars were waiting in the registration line when we arrived. Two or three cars showed up after us to wait in line. A large RV up front went through the complete registration process- was provided with campground maps, rules, etc. Looked like a friendly and unhurried check-in procedure.

The drivers of several cars lost patience and drove around the cones. I decided to wait the 5 or 10 minutes to ask what the new proceedure was all about. I got to the front of the line and found out that all visitors were being stopped on a busy summer afternoon and asked to show papers.


I have purchased a State Parks day use pass every year they have been available over the past 10 years or so. Never, before today, have I been stopped at an entrance checkpoint to wait in line to show the pass. Looks like purchasing the pass now means waiting behind others who have showed up to camp for a few days & those who still need to buy a pass- sort of like checking into a motel room- going out to dinner- then returning to stand in line again at the motel desk to prove you have already checked in.


Only a portion of Fort Flagler has access controlled by a guard shack. None of Fort Worden is controlled by a checkpoint, so people can find other ways to enter park property if they want to.


When the Discover Pass was introduced- it did not seem to be required for a short bathroom break:

“The new rules allow some leeway. At Battle Ground Lake, for example, four 15-minute parking spaces allow visitors to swing in for a bathroom break or to retrieve belongings they left behind. No pass required.”

Looks like part of your 15 minutes will now be used waiting in line to explain yourself at the checkpoint?


Maybe the parks are short on staff to check parked cars for valid permits. Maybe they’ll use funds from the new pass to hire more pass checkers and set up new guard shacks and compliance checkpoints.


Suggestion- when the cones are blocking the bypass lane at the park entrance- wait in line to enter the park, then park at the guard shack- holding up traffic.

Don’t leave until a supervisor comes down to explain the new policy.


Possibly related-

State auditor: Fort Flagler sewer project ‘wastes millions’


A few years back- some of our Washington State Parks removed the trash cans that were traditional at the parks.

Mystery Bay is one such location.

Mystery Bay is not a remote location where the policy applies to hiking trails or primitive campsites. Mystery Bay is just down the road from a full service state park- Fort Flagler.

Mystery Bay has a picnic shelter which is fully accessible by car. Boats pay to stay overnight.

Mystery Bay charges $10 per day, per car to access the park:

“The Discover Pass – your ticket to Washington’s great outdoors”

I do not object in any way to pack it out policies for remote locations, islands, hiking trails, primitive campsites, etc.

My feeling is that state parks that are accessible by car, have picnic shelters and charge for day use should provide trash service.

Cat box theory- make it easy for people to do the right thing and most people will.


People are supposed to clean up after their dogs. If they stay for 3 nights on their boat- are they supposed to tow a refrigerated dog crap container to pack it out? Pack it out to where?

If a person rents a car and travels the US for a couple weeks- where are they supposed to pack it out to?


Our local county parks do not charge a day fee and are having trouble staying on top of trash which exceeds the capacity of their trash cans. Are people avoiding the state day use fee or no trash policy by leaving trash at a county park?


I traveled to Potlatch State Park a couple summers ago. The traditional trash cans had been replaced with a pack it out policy. A trip to the restroom revealed 2 trash cans worth of trash stacked around the trash can in the restroom.


Additional state parks rants:

No soap in restrooms. People live in parks for days at a time- preparing food, hosting family reunions, etc. Soap in the restrooms is the way to go.


Discover Pass costs $5.00 extra when purchased online?

How does this $5.00 fee make any sense?


10 day temporary Discover Pass (provided as a receipt for online purchase) displays all drivers license info- to be seen by the general public when placed on your dash?

Why must this personal info be displayed on a temporary parking pass?


Observations & possible solutions-

“I went to the driver’s side door to get back into the car but when I tried to close the door the ranger stuck his ticket book in and it got mangled,” Hazelton said. “That set [the park ranger] off. He ripped the door open, took me by the back of my neck, grabbing my hair, and pulled me out, spun me around and forced me to the ground. With his knee in my ear he told me that I was under arrest.”

“Rangers who find a car bearing no Discover Pass will attempt to contact the car’s owner and give him or her the opportunity to purchase either a day-use pass for $10 or a one-year Discover Pass for $30.

If the ranger is unsuccessful, the car will receive a $99 parking citation.”

How bad will the Washington State budget crisis get before people discuss a different way of doing things?

Savings here could have paid for a few parking passes:

State auditor: Fort Flagler sewer project ‘wastes millions’

Possible solutions here


Recent crackdowns elsewhere on the Quimper Peninsula-

The scent of marijuana triggers police raid-

“Port Townsend Police raided a house Wednesday morning, and learned by that afternoon the resident apparently had a license to grow medical marijuana.

About 8 a.m. April 11 police raided a home on the 300 block of Hendricks Street after the receiving a tip from passersby that a strong odor was emanating from the residence.”

Possible solutions here


Pay to camp here overnight- but don’t get caught drinking a beer during your stay-

Law enforcement resources should be used to go after individuals who are harming others- not for policing arbitrary pre-crime scenarios.



Photo- early winter morning at Point Wilson, Fort Worden, WA