State parks free days 2021, update May 24:
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission has added Juneteenth as a Discover Pass free day.
June 19 is one of the most important days in Black American history because in 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read to the enslaved people of Texas. Though President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, slavery had continued in Texas; it was the last state where the new law was read aloud.
An announcement of the new free day said it was part of “a commitment among state lands agencies to promote diversity, equity and inclusion as core values.”
In addition, Juneteenth will be a paid state holiday for Washington state workers beginning in 2022.
It normally costs $10 a day or $30 a year to use Washington’s more than 100 state parks. However, the law that established that fee (the money helps to maintain the parks) also mandated the creation of 12 days a year when no fee would be charged.
Here are the remaining free days for 2021:
- Saturday, June 12 — National Get Outdoors Day
- Sunday, June 13 — Free Fishing Day (in cooperation with Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife)
- Saturday, June 19 — Juneteenth Free Day
- Wednesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service birthday
- Saturday, Sept. 25 — National Public Lands Day
- Thursday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
- Friday, Nov. 26 — Autumn free day
A couple of things to keep in mind: The free days do not apply to Sno-Parks, for which a separate Sno-Park permit is needed. Also, lands managed by the Washington departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are not free on those days. Here’s more on what the Discover Pass does cover and how to get one.
Note: Published December 2020