August 25: Next State Parks ‘free day’ is Aug. 25 - celebrate NPS 102nd birthday

OLYMPIA – Aug. 8, 2018 – To celebrate the National Park System’s 102nd birthday, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is offering free entrance to state parks on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks by vehicle.

“The National Park Service is celebrating its birthday this year as ‘something new for 102,’” said Don Hoch, Director of Washington State Parks. “We think that’s a great idea, and we encourage visitors to take advantage of the free day by visiting a park they’ve never been to before or by trying a new activity at a favorite park.”

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.

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:

Washington state park - National park - Travel time by car

Battle Ground Lake State Park - Fort Vancouver National Historic Site - 35 minutes

Fort Townsend Historical State Park - Olympic National Park  - 1 hour

Bogachiel State Park  - Olympic National Park  - 43 minutes

Lime Kiln Point State Park  - San Juan Island National Historical Park  - 16 minutes

Rockport State Park  - North Cascades National Park  - 32 minutes

Rasar State Park -  North Cascades National Park  - 40 minutes

Fort Ebey State Park  - Fort Casey Historical State Park Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve -  10 minutes

Federation Forest State Park  - Mount Rainier National Park  - 40 minutes

Nisqually State Park  - Mount Rainier National Park  - 36 minutes

Nolte State Park  - Mount Rainier National Park  - 1 hour

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

Yakima Sportsman State Park

To find a Washington state park, visit:

Three more State Parks free days are available in 2018:

Saturday, Sept. 22 — National Public Lands Day

Sunday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day

Friday, Nov. 23 — Autumn free day

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

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