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New state recreation pass takes effect Friday

Beginning Friday, people planning to recreate on lands managed by three state natural resource agencies will need the new Discover Pass.

The pass – $10 a day or $30 a year, plus fees in some cases – will give people access to almost 7 million acres of land run by the State Parks and Recreation Commission, state Department of Fish and Wildlife and state Department of Natural Resources.

The pass is good for one vehicle. The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.

The pass was created by the Legislature earlier this year in an effort to reduce the state’s budget deficit. Purchases of the pass are expected to generate $64 million to $72 million every two years. A majority of the revenue – 84 percent of the first $71 million generated each biennium – is targeted go to State Parks and Recreation. DNR and DFW would each receive 8 percent. State Parks gets the bulk because its general-fund allocation was cut by more than $50 million.

State recreation lands include state parks, boat launches, campgrounds, heritage sites, wildlife and natural areas, trails and trailheads.

Holders of a pass will have access to more than 100 developed state parks such as Tolmie, Penrose Point, Saltwater and Twanoh; almost 700 water access points including Long Lake, McIntosh Lake, Lake Kapowsin, Clear Lake, Limerick Lake and Spencer Lake; more than 110 natural and wildlife areas, including South Puget Sound and Nisqually nature areas; more than 350 recreation sites, including campgrounds and picnic areas and nearly 2,000 miles of designated water and land recreation trails.

While there will be a minimal grace period, agency representatives are encouraging people to buy their passes before they head someplace such as a state park. Passes are already available online at the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

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