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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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February 11, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Free entrance to national parks this weekend. But where’s winter?

The ground is bare up at the 5,242-foot-elevation Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park in this webcam view from the visitor center Wednesday. Normally it would be deep in snow. Got the urge to get outside this weekend — and save money? It’s a free-admission weekend at all 405 U.S. national parks Feb. 14-16 in honor…

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Comments | More in Fees, national parks | Topics: fee-free days, national parks, Washington state parks

September 23, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Get in free to parks and forests — and maybe volunteer — on Saturday

Volunteers will help maintain trails around the Paradise area of Mount Rainier National Park on Saturday. (photo by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times) Get in free to Washington’s national parks, state parks and national forest sites this Saturday, Sept. 27, in honor of National Public Lands Day. You can also pitch in and join a work party to…

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Comments | Topics: free admission, national forests, national parks

March 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

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

Visitors look out from an observation tower atop Mount Constitution in Moran State Park on Orcas Island. (photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times) 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…

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

January 16, 2014 at 9:27 AM

See Washington’s state parks for free

Visitors take in the view from Moran State Park on Orcas Island. Washington state parks will have 12 admission-free days in 2014. (Ellen M. Banner photo / Seattle Times, 2013) Washington State Parks will be free on 12 days this year.  Visitors won’t have to buy a $10 daily Discover Pass to visit (nor…

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Comments | More in Parks, state parks, Tips & deals | Topics: free days, Washington state parks

October 23, 2013 at 6:01 AM

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

Stephen Stout, who recently retired, focuses in on the star Vega with the telescope at Goldendale Observatory. Stout’s years of service will be celebrated Saturday during the observatory’s 40th anniversary party. (photo by Alan Berner / The Seattle Times, 2010) Combine a fall-color drive over Satus Pass or up the Columbia River Gorge this weekend with…

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Comments | Topics: astronomy, fall drives, Goldendale

September 23, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Free admission, and maybe free lunch, at parks Saturday

Dosewallips State Park is among places you can get a gift card for free sandwiches Saturday. And admission to the park is free, too. (archive photo by Mark Harrison/ The Seattle Times) 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,…

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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

Campers in Western Washington may light a campfire in state parks once again. (photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times_ 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…

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

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