Topic: Washington state parks
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October 23, 2013 at 6:01 AM
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 up the post this summer. “Troy has a fun ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’ sort of way of turning complex scientific topics into something the average park visitor can understand,” says Ranger Andy Kallinen.
Kallinen said this is just the start of “polishing up” this gem of the park system, which got a recent allocation for improvements from the state Legislature.
The observatory’s 24-inch Cassegrain reflecting telescope was built in the early 1970s by four amateur astronomers from Vancouver, Wash., who ultimately donated it to the town of Goldendale, which built the observatory. Washington State Parks acquired it in 1980.
At 2 p.m. Saturday there will be cake and speeches, with a star party planned for that evening if the sky is clear.
September 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM
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 for parking in state parks.
National parks across Washington will also waive the $15-per-vehicle entry fee that day.
In addition, $5,000 worth of $5 gift cards to local Subway sandwich shops will be given to the first 100 visitors to select state parks. The gift cards will be available at these times and locations in the following state parks:
- Larrabee State Park, near Bellingham – 10 a.m., Welcome Center.
- Deception Pass on Whidbey Island – 6:30 a.m., Cranberry Lake park entrance
- Lincoln Rock in Douglas County – 8 a.m., entrance booth
- Lake Sammamish in Issaquah – 7 a.m., main park entrance
- Millersylvania near Olympia – 8 a.m., park office
- Twin Harbors in Grays Harbor County – 9:30 a.m., park office
- Belfair in Mason County – 9 a.m., entrance booth
- Dosewallips on the shore of Hood Canal in Jefferson County – 10 a.m., ranger station
- Fort Worden in Port Townsend – 9 a.m., park entrance
- Saltwater in King County – 8 a.m., at the park office
In addition, a program in partnership with Subway through the end of September honors Discover Passes at 406 Subway restaurants in Western Washington. Anyone showing a valid Discover pass will receive a free six-inch sandwich with a qualifying purchase.
Mount Rainier National Park invites the public to join in volunteer maintenance projects around the park Saturday, in cooperation with Washington Trails Association and National Parks Conservation Association. Registration for volunteer projects begins at the Longmire visitor center at 8 a.m. Volunteers will get a coupon good for another free entry to the park on a day of their choice. More information: www.nps.gov/mora.
August 15, 2013 at 3:42 PM
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 side may resume having campfires in provided campfire rings and also may use charcoal briquettes in grills and braziers.
State Parks is following the lead of Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, who announced today (Thursday) he was lifting the ban on recreational fires in approved fire pits on forest lands under DNR fire protection, within state, county and municipal or other campgrounds in Western Washington. A ban was instituted July 31 statewide because of dry, hot weather, ongoing wildfires and the demands placed on firefighting resources.
A ban on campfires and use of briquettes remains in place for all state parks in Eastern Washington, where fire danger remains higher.
“The fact we got a little bit of rain and that some kind of cooler weather is coming got everyone to move on this,” said Virginia Painter, spokeswoman for the state Parks and Recreation Commission.
Visitors to state parks in Eastern Washington are allowed to use the following devices for cooking and warmth:
- 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.
- Lava rocks or lava logs in propane grills and barbecues.
- Solid fuel citronella or other candles in a metal bucket or glass container.
Now put down the phone and go make s’mores.
August 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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):
July 31, 2013 at 11:56 AM
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 (more…)
July 23, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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 (more…)
July 10, 2013 at 5:03 PM
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: (more…)
May 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM
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 (more…)
May 16, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Seattle Times readers have spoken on their favorite Washington state parks. And we’ve created an interactive map with their picks.
If you’re looking for somewhere to camp, picnic, hike, or simply enjoy the scenery, take a look at your fellow Washingtonians’ comments, photos, and advice on state parks. They’re categorized as best all-around parks, best parks in which to camp, and most kid-friendly parks.
April 9, 2013 at 5:29 PM
Corporate sponsorship — and naming — is coming to Washington’s cash-strapped state parks, in the form of the company that is currently on trial in New Orleans to determine blame for the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Washington Parks and Recreation Commission today invited the public to an April 20 groundbreaking for the new BP Heron Center of Environmental Education, to be built at Whatcom County’s Birch Bay State Park. BP’s nearby Cherry Point Refinery contributed $105,000 to the project.
The project’s aim is to provide a regional environmental learning center for classes and groups studying Terrell Creek, the Birch Bay marine environment and a nearby colony of great blue herons. The center also will serve as a rental facility for weddings, reunions and other gatherings.
The projected total cost is $236,000, with additional support coming from Alcoa Intalco Works, which gave $25,000, along with Friends of Birch Bay State Park and other local donors.
Construction is expected to begin in September with a completion goal of summer 2014.
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