Olympia, WA - Sen. Jim Hargrove
is proposing legislation which would allow owners of the Discover Pass to transfer it between two vehicles and which would clarify what Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands the passes are required to access.
Senate Bill 5998
was introduced in the last day of the special session. Hargrove says in addition to increasing the number of vehicles a pass can be used for, the bill seeks to correct the definition of DNR lands that require the pass for public access.
“I am concerned about the criteria the Department of Natural Resources has developed for determining whether a Discover Pass is required,” says Hargrove, a member of the Natural Resources & Marine Waters Committee.
When the Discover Pass was created in the spring, the legislation stated that the $30 annual or $10 daily pass was required to access “any recreation site or land”. State lands that fall under that heading must meet certain criteria, such as having adopted recreation plans, campgrounds, trailheads or documented management costs. Hargrove says questions about those criteria are causing confusion.
“Must an area meet just one, several or all elements of the primary criteria for the pass to be required?” Hargrove asked. “Is there consideration given to whether the amount of recreation or agency resources required is significant?”
Hargrove’s new bill clarifies the term “recreation site or land” pertaining to DNR lands by including language recognizing the sites as “developed recreations sites, including campgrounds, trails and trailheads and the associated parking areas.” This language works to correct a move by DNR to include significant portions of their lands in areas covered by the Discover Pass requirement.
“The department’s designation of large blocks of their managed lands as a ’recreation area’, including undeveloped, remote and lightly recreated portions, is an overbroad reading of that term,” says Hargrove.
Sales of the Discover Pass have raised more than $5 million since it became a requirement to visit state recreational areas on July 1st. Hargrove says while that money is critical for keeping state parks open and for the upkeep of recreational land, the Department of Natural Resources should review its criteria for determining which areas are considered recreational, to ensure that lands are not wrongly included and to eliminate confusion.