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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

Topic: Washington state parks

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March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Happy birthday, state parks: Get in free Wednesday (or buy a pass and help save them)

Help celebrate the 101st birthday of Washington State Parks on Wednesday. Admission to all state parks is free for the day, a nice thing if you can’t afford a Discover Pass, usually required for entry. But here’s another idea. You know how fire departments have made the change to daylight saving time into a “replace the…

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0 Comments | Topics: Discover Pass, state parks anniversay, state parks budget

October 23, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Celebrate stars, and the state’s big telescope, in Goldendale

Combine a fall-color drive over Satus Pass or up the Columbia River Gorge this weekend with a celebration of the night sky and the state observatory at Goldendale. Goldendale Observatory State Park celebrates its 40th anniversary Saturday, with a farewell to retired longtime interpretive specialist Stephen Stout and a welcome to Troy Carpenter, who took…

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0 Comments | Topics: astronomy, fall drives, Goldendale

September 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Free admission, and maybe free lunch, at parks Saturday

Get free entry to Washington’s state parks this Saturday, and maybe a free lunch while you’re at it. In recognition of National Public Lands Day, a Discover Pass will not be required of visitors to any state park on Saturday, Sept. 28.  The pass usually costs $10 a day or $30 a year and is required…

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0 Comments | More in state parks | Topics: Discover Pass, state parks free day, Washington state parks

August 15, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Grab the marshmallows! Campfires OK in state parks west of Cascades

Shame on you if you’re reading this on your smartphone from a campsite at Deception Pass or Cape Disappointment state parks, but the good news is this: Go ahead and light that campfire. Washington State Parks on Thursday lifted its 16-day-old campfire ban in parks west of the Cascade crest, effective immediately. Campers on the state’s west…

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Outdoors, state parks | Topics: campfire ban, campfires, fire danger

August 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

State parks campfire ban continues, despite recent rain

Campfires such as this one at this one at Kitsap Memorial State Park are still banned in all state parks because of fire danger and limited firefighting resources. (Archive photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Campfires such as this one (from a prior year) at Kitsap Memorial State Park are still banned in all state parks because of fire danger and limited firefighting resources. (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times, 2006)

Yes, we’ve had some rain around the state in recent days — even damaging deluges in places such as the North Cascades — but campers should be aware: The two-week-old ban on campfires in Washington’s state parks continues.

That’s puzzled some campers in places such as the Washington coast where it hasn’t seemed very dry. Here’s an excerpt from an email that came to me Friday night from a California visitor to a coastal state park:

“Tonight I write you from Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington, where it is 57 degrees at 98 percent humidity. According to another website, the fire danger is rated as ‘very low.’ Five hours inland, large wildfires may be raging, but you wouldn’t know it here, where mist-caused water drops pellet my van’s roof. Which prompts my question: Under what authority does Washington State make the idiotic demand all campfires cease?”

The authority comes from the Washington Administrative Code, Section 352-32-125, governing fires and campfires in state parks (boldface is my addition):

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Parks, state parks, wildfires | Topics: campfire ban, campfires in state parks, state parks

July 31, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Campfire ban extended to all Washington state parks

Campfires are banned in state parks and on many state lands because of dry weather across the state. (photo by Joel Hawksley / The Seattle Times)

Campfires are banned in state parks and on many state lands because of dry weather across the state. (photo by Joel Hawksley / The Seattle Times)

Because of wildfire danger, campfires are banned in all Washington state parks until further notice, the Washington State Parks Commission announced Wednesday morning, and more restrictions are on the way for national forests.

Use of charcoal briquettes is also prohibited in state parks.

Campers will be allowed to use devices that allow for control of combustion, including propane and liquid gas stoves appropriate for camping and backcountry use; propane barbecue devices that do not use solid briquettes; propane or pressurized white gas warming devices that have a shield or base; and solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.

State parks are following the lead of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which Tuesday prohibited all outdoor burning on lands protected by DNR. That agency has

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, state parks | Topics: campfire ban, campfire ban in Washington, forest-fire danger

July 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM

State parks birthday bash slated Aug. 3 at Deception Pass

A family walks the rocks at Deception Pass State Park. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

A family walks the rocks at Deception Pass State Park. (photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Washington State Parks continue to celebrate the park system’s 100th birthday, and the next big “signature” event to mark on your calendar is an Aug. 3 bash at Deception Pass State Park.

The 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday event will include music all day, model sailboat races, park tours, crafts, food vendors, a Volkssport walk, and

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, state parks | Topics: Deception Pass State Park, state parks centennial, state parks centennial celebration

July 10, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Get international flavor in concerts near Peace Arch

A series of internationally-flavored concerts happens near the Peach Arch in Blaine next month. (photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

A series of internationally-flavored concerts happens near the Peach Arch in Blaine next month. (photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times)

If you’re Vancouver-bound, or if you just want to sample an internationally-flavored musical event, you might want to mark your calendar with a series of concerts happening this summer near the Peace Arch on the Washington-B.C. border.

The Washington State Parks Commission is staging the Peace Arch International Concert Series on Sundays from Aug. 4 to Sept. 1 at Peace Arch State Park, 100 A St., in Blaine, Whatcom County.

The state’s Folk and Traditional Art in the Parks Program presents five free, hour-long outdoor concerts at 2 p.m. each Sunday. (Discover Pass required for parking.)

Performances are scheduled as follows:

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Parks | Topics: Blaine, concerts, Peach Arch

May 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM

See Washington’s state parks for free

Waves crash near Cape Disappointment lighhouse in Washington's Cape Disappointment State Park. (Greg Gilbert photo / Seattle Times)

Waves crash near Cape Disappointment lighthouse in Washington’s Cape Disappointment State Park. (Greg Gilbert photo / Seattle Times)

   

     This weekend – and next – are for you.  Washington State Parks will be free on June 1, June 8 and June 9.

The no-charge weekend days are part of a series of admission-free days at state parks this year. Otherwise visitors have to pay for a Discover Pass to enter state parks, either a $10 day pass or a $30 annual pass.

It doesn’t sound like much but it can add up, especially on top of other state park fees.

I’ve been at Cape Disappointment State Park recently, in the southwest tip of Washington.  It’s gorgeous, with wave-pounded beaches, walking trails among ancient spruce, two lighthouses and an excellent interpretive center. But on top of  buying a $10 one-day Discover Pass

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0 Comments | More in Northwest, Outdoors, Parks | Topics: free days at parks, National Trails Day, state parks

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