New Discover Pass free days honor Indigenous people, Black history, mental health.
OLYMPIA – Nov. 10, 2021 – Washington State Parks has designated the free days in 2022 when visitors will not need a Discover Pass to park at state parks and on recreation lands managed by Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
In 2022, the Discover Pass free days are:
- Saturday, Jan. 1 – New Year’s Day
- Monday, Jan. 17 – Martin Luther King Day
- Wednesday, March 9 - Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday
- Saturday, March 19 – Washington State Parks’ birthday
- Friday, April 22 – Earth Day
- Saturday, June 11 – National Get Outdoors Day
- Sunday, June 12 – Free Fishing Weekend
- Sunday, June 19 - Juneteenth
- Saturday, Sept. 24 – National Public Lands Day
- Monday, Oct. 10 – World Mental Health Day
- Friday, Nov. 11 – Veterans Day
- Friday, Nov. 25 – Native American Heritage Day
Billy Frank Jr.’s birthday, Juneteenth and World Mental Health Day will replace the previously recognized springtime day (first Saturday in April), National Trails Day (first Saturday in June) and National Park Service birthday (Aug. 25). In addition, Friday, Nov. 25 will be formally recognized as Native American Heritage Day.
Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014) was an environmental activist and former chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. His lifelong dedication to protecting endangered salmon and restoring justice for the Nisqually Tribe helped shape Washington’s environmental laws and expanded treaty rights for Native Americans nationwide. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
"Billy Frank Jr. Day is a day to be outside giving back to Mother Earth," said Frank's son, Nisqually Chairman Willie Frank III. "I do believe my dad wouldn't want us to take the day off. He would want us to be out replanting trees or cleaning up the riverbanks. This is a day for the state of Washington to feel a little bit of Billy Magic."
Juneteenth has been celebrated in Black communities since June 19, 1865, when enslaved people in Texas learned they were free. The news reached them two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. This year, Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed Juneteenth a state holiday beginning in 2022. Last June state lands made it a free day for the first time.
World Mental Health Day was designated a free day to acknowledge the power of nature to restore mental health. Studies worldwide show time spent in nature increases serotonin and decreases cortisol levels, along with many other health benefits. Washington is a leader in the national ParkRx movement.
“These free day additions provide a renewed opportunity for all Washingtonians to reflect on the cultures and heritages that make our public lands so special,” said Dr. John Scott, diversity, equity and inclusion director for Parks. “It’s also a reflection of the state’s continued progress and commitment toward creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive experience for all who recreate in Washington’s great outdoors.”
Saturday, Jan. 1, the first free day of 2022, provides recreationists the opportunity to participate in a First Day Hike, a nationwide initiative that aims to get people outdoors New Year’s Day.
About the Discover Pass
State lands free days align with 2011 legislation that created the Discover Pass, which costs $30 to $35 annually, or $10 to $11.50 for a one-day visit, depending on point of purchase. The pass is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, WDFW and DNR. The Discover Pass legislation directed State Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required to visit state parks.
Note: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks. During the winter season, November through April, visitors to Sno-Parks will need Sno-Park permits, which are available for purchase online or from vendors throughout the state. For more information about winter recreation permit requirements, visit: parks.state.wa.us/winter.
News media contact:
Meryl Lassen, Communications Office, (503) 490-8796
About Washington State Parks
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation.
About Washington Department of Natural Resources
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages nearly 1,300 miles of trails and 160-plus recreation sites in 3 million acres of working forest state trust lands. DNR trust lands keep forests development-free, provide clean water and generate revenue for public services and school construction.
About Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
By actively managing lands, restoring habitats, and preserving wild places, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildife serves as stewards for Washington’s natural places, protecting the state’s land and water for its human and wildlife populations.
News release number: 20-068