Four bills sponsored by Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, including a bill to institute Washington State Park passes, became law May 12.
Van De Wege represents the 24th Legislative District and serves as House Majority Whip.
Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the bill to establish day-use fees and annual passes for the state’s parks as most faced closure without additional funding sources.
A $30 annual “Discover Pass” can be purchased to gain access to all state parks as well as recreation lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources or the state Department of Fish and Game. The alternative is a $10 day pass when parking a vehicle at one of the state parks. There also will be 12 days a year when the parks will be free.
“Without the Discover Pass, we would be facing park closures across the state,” Van De Wege said.
“Instead, our parks will be open and welcoming outdoor enthusiasts this summer.”
Only a few of the 120 state parks are self-supported through campsite and other fees. The parks system must backfill $60 million in cuts coming over the next biennium, said Jennifer Waldref, Democratic Caucus communications specialist.
Oregon, Idaho and California state parks also have day-use fees.
Other bills sponsored by Van De Wege and signed into law May 12 are a measure giving in-state contractors a level playing field when bidding against out-of-state contractors on public works projects; a measure incentivizing the installation of residential fire sprinkler systems; and a measure temporarily suspending state laws regarding motorcycle equipment standards and helmet use when a motorcycle is being driven on a closed road during a parade or permitted demonstration.