Getting ready to head to the hills as the snow melts? The U.S. Forest Service now sells its one-day recreation pass for Washington and Oregon national forests online – and a pass is required for parking at many trailheads and Forest Service sites.
The National Forest Recreation ePass is being sold online, as of April 1, through a partnership of the Forest Service and Discover Your Northwest, a non-profit organization that advocates for public lands.
A day pass is $5, and can be printed at home for immediate use; you must include the date you’ll be using it and the vehicle (and it can’t be changed or transferred). Making the recreation pass available online means outdoor enthusiasts won’t have to find a store or ranger station at which to buy a pass.
“In today’s world, people often make last-minute decisions … and expect to be able to use their computers to help them choose their destination and make any purchases they need,” said Claire Lavendel, the Forest Service’s director of Recreation, Lands, Minerals, and Heritage Resources.
National forests in Washington that are participating in the ePass include Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; Olympic National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. See the National Forest recreation website for information about hiking, cabin rentals and more.
The National Forest ePass does not cover Sno-Parks; a separate pass is needed for those winter-recreation parking areas.
An annual national forest pass (the Northwest Forest Pass) and other passes also can be used at national-forest recreation areas: see the Forest Service recreation-pass website for details or purchasing.