State parks' free day Aug. 25 celebrates National Park System's 103rd birthday


August 8, 2019

OLYMPIA – Aug. 5, 2019 – In recognition of the National Park System’s 103rd birthday, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is offering free entrance to state parks on Sunday, Aug. 25. Day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle.

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 and the Department of Natural Resources. 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 Fish & Wildlife and National Resources lands.

While Washington State Parks and the National Park Service are different entities, the two agencies share a rich tradition of stewarding the lands they manage. Many state parks are located within an hour’s drive of Washington’s national parks, monuments and historical reserves and sites:

Battle Ground Lake State Park near Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, 35 minutes by car; Fort Townsend Historical State Park near Olympic National Park, one hour by car; Bogachiel State Park near Olympic National Park, 43 minutes by car; Lime Kiln Point State Park near San Juan Island National Historical Park, 16 minutes by car; Rockport and Rasar state parks near North Cascades National Park, 32 and 40 minutes by car, respectively; Fort Ebey State Park and Fort Casey Historical State Park near Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, 10 minutes by car; Federation Forest, Nisqually and Nolte state parks near Mount Rainier National Park, 40 minutes, 36 minutes and one hour by car, respectively.

In addition, many Washington state parks are within the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail:

Beacon Rock State Park, Columbia Hills State Park, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, Lyons Ferry State Park, Palouse Falls State Park, Steamboat Rock State Park, Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park and Yakima Sportsman State Park

For more information on special birthday events the National Park Service is planning, visit:

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. For information about Discover Pass, visit

To find a Washington state park, visit:


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