WDFW Licensing and Permits
Exemptions to the Discover Pass
Exemptions to the Discover Pass
Updated: Week of Aug. 1, 2011
Your purchase of the Discover Pass supports recreation on state lands. However, you do not need to purchase the pass under certain circumstances. Download the "Do I need a Discover Pass?" chart (67KB PDF) or read the following information about exemptions to the Discover Pass.
Camping in a Washington state park: Your camping reservation stub or camping fee receipt will serve as your permit for the duration of your stay in the park where you have paid for a campsite, vacation house, environmental learning center, yurt or cabin. If you visit other state parks in the area, you will need an annual or one-day Discover Pass. You will need a pass if you are camping on lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Hunting and fishing on WDFW-managed lands. The Discover Pass is not required for holders of certain hunting and fishing licenses on WDFW recreation lands and water-access sites. For those individuals, a "WDFW vehicle access pass" will be required for vehicle access to WDFW lands and boat launches. WDFW will honor WDFW vehicle use permits that were purchased prior to July 1, 2011, on WDFW lands through March 31, 2012.
Those license holders will need a Discover Pass to access DNR-managed lands that are developed or designated as recreation areas, sites, trailheads and parking areas. Signs will be posted in these areas. License holders will not need a Discover Pass to access small blocks of undesignated DNR-managed lands.
For vehicle access to lands managed by State Parks, all hunters or fishers will need to purchase the Discover Pass. As a reminder, hunting is not allowed on State Parks lands.
Note: The vehicle access pass is valid for the license's year (April 1 through March 31) and is issued free of charge with an individual's initial purchase of a big-game or small-game hunting license, western Washington pheasant permit, trapping license, Watchable Wildlife decal, or saltwater, freshwater or combination recreational fishing license.
Sno-Park seasonal permit holders: You do not need a Discover Pass to use a designated Sno-Park between Nov. 1 and March 31 for winter recreation activities. The Sno-Park permit exception does not apply to non-winter recreation activities.
Off-Road Vehicle (ORVs): If your ORV is required to display an ORV tab, you do not need a Discover Pass for that vehicle. Generally, ORVs are non-street-legal vehicles. You will need a Discover Pass for the street-legal vehicle that transports your ORV to a state recreation site. The trailer does not require a pass. Street-licensed vehicles, such as dual-sport motorcycles or four-wheel-drive vehicles, will be required to display a pass.
Disabled veterans and other State Parks pass holders: The Washington State Legislature has created pass programs or certain visitors to Washington state parks. These existing passes reduce or waive camping fees for qualified limited-income senior citizens, disabled veterans, foster parents and people with disabilities. These pass holders are not required to display the Discover Pass while visiting state parks but are required to display the Discover Pass while on WDFW or DNR lands.
Pass holders visiting state parks need to display their free- or reduced-price pass on the dashboard or fill out a self-registration envelope and include the pass number on the envelope.
Disability placards and license plates: The Department of Licensing issues these disability permits and license plates, and holders of these are exempt from needing the Discover Pass on State Parks lands, pursuant to RCW 79A.05.065. Holders of these permits and plates do need to have the Discover Pass to access WDFW or DNR lands. For information about DOL-issued disability permits, visit www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/parking.html
State Parks boat launch sites. You will not need a Discover Pass to launch your boat from a State Parks boat launch if you have the annual Natural Investment Permit. You will need the Discover Pass for boat launches managed by DNR and WDFW and in a state park using a daily launch permit.
Volunteers. Volunteers who work 24 hours or more on agency-approved projects are eligible for a complimentary Discover Pass.
Those with certain written agreements with agencies. Individuals with leases, easements, and other contracts may not need a Discover Pass if their contract with the agency specifically exempts them from the pass. The agencies are analyzing their existing contracts to determine which ones provide exemptions from the Discover Pass requirement.
Please note: Even though the pass is not required in these cases, your purchase helps to maintain, manage and operate state recreation lands. As funding for recreation shifts from tax support to user fees, the responsibility to cover the costs of these exemptions will shift from the general public to visitors. You also may continue to donate to Washington State Parks when you register a vehicle through the Department of Licensing.