Home > Archived: Access to public recreation lands by increasing the number of Discover Passes and daily permits sold

Archived: Access to public recreation lands by increasing the number of Discover Passes and daily permits sold

Supplemental Information
Why is this a priority?

Outdoor recreation results in healthier citizens and a healthier economy for Washington State. State recreation lands include a number of high-quality outdoor recreation sites where the public can enjoy active recreation including hiking, bicycling, off-road vehicle riding, swimming and horseback riding, as well as picnicking,wildlife viewing and attending cultural events.

Participating in these events builds families and communities, and it supports the Washington economy in a multitude of ways. Consumer spending on recreation-oriented gear and services is estimated to generate $22.5 billion in state and local tax revenues, according to the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Economy report. In addition, state parks alone provide an economic contribution of approximately $1.4 billion per year according to the recent Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation at Washington’s State Parks report produced by Earth Economics. Notably, more than 14,000 jobs are attributed to state parks in the same report.

Participants in outdoor recreation are more connected to their environment and tend to be better stewards of our natural resources. This has long-lasting immeasurable impacts on our state and the precious natural resources we are tasked with maintaining. The public can access state-managed recreation lands by purchasing an annual Discover pass or one-day permit. The pass is required when visiting public recreation lands managed by the Washington State Parks & Recreation Commission, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The number of passes and permits sold indicates the potential number of public recreational day users who visit parks and other state-managed recreation areas. Pass sales information aids in planning for new and improved recreational facilities. In addition, revenue generated from pass and permits sales have been integral in keeping state parks and recreation sites and programs open and available to the public.

How are we doing?

In fiscal year (FY)2016, sales of the Discover Pass program generated $21.3 million, with 927,838 annual passes and daily permits sold. This is more than a 1.5 percent increase over FY 2015 in passes and permits sold. The agencies have seen pass sales grow steadily every year since program inception.

What are we working on?

The three Discover Pass agencies have renewed their interagency agreement to effectively manage this program and have updated the annual work plan to continue program enhancements that promote state managed recreation lands and generate more pass and permit sales. Notable projects include:

  • Exploring the opportunity to develop a combined pass with the U.S. Forest Service, to facilitate ease and simplicity of use for the public
  • Expanding sales channels to improve ease of purchase
  • Modifying the www.discoverpass.wa.gov purchase process to reduce complexity and decease the number of steps necessary to purchase a pass, to improve the customer's purchasing experience
  • Reviewing the pricing and product opportunities associated with this program
  • Evaluating opportunities to utilize technology to simplify the process for customers purchasing a pass or permit
  • Enhancing marketing and outreach about state-managed recreation opportunities across the state.
How can you help?

Please purchase your $30 annual Discover Pass, and enjoy a year of outdoor recreation opportunities in state parks and other state-managed recreation lands. Buy online at www.DiscoverPass.wa.gov, or save time and purchase the pass when you renew your vehicle license. You can also purchase in state parks or offices and at automated machines at more than 30 state parks.

How can you learn more?

Learn the latest about public recreation lands from the following websites: