Salmon fishing is getting into high gear on the Washington coast, several areas of Puget Sound and many rivers around the state as they are now open for business. Most areas of Puget Sound also open for recreational crabbing July 1, setting the stage for a great Independence Day weekend.
Also starting July 1, many anglers and others planning outdoor adventures will need to purchase a Discover Pass for vehicle access to state parks, campgrounds, boat launches and wildlife areas. The new requirement, approved this year by the state Legislature, is designed to help keep 7 million acres of state recreational lands open after steep budget cuts.
“The Discover Pass allows state natural-resource agencies to maintain public access to millions of acres of state recreation lands,” said Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Sport fishers and hunters have traditionally supported WDFW wildlife areas and water access sites through their license fees; now all who enjoy these lands will share in their support.”
A Discover Pass will generally be required for vehicle access to recreation lands and water-access sites managed by WDFW, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The fine for not displaying the pass is $99.
However, some exemptions apply to the new requirement. For example, holders of most annual fishing and hunting licenses will not be required to purchase a Discover Pass to use WDFW lands and water-access sites. Information about exemptions and other aspects of the pass is available at http://www.discoverpass.wa.gov/ or by calling 1-866-320-9933.
An annual Discover Pass costs $35, when purchased from WDFW online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/) or by phone (1-866-320-9933) or from license vendors around the state. A one-day pass is also available for $11.50.
In addition, State Parks will sell the passes July 1-3 at its Olympia headquarters and at its Burlington and East Wenatchee regional offices in preparation for the Fourth of July weekend. The passes also will be sold at state park sites where staff is available.
Meanwhile, those afield on the Fourth of July and the rest of the month are asked to be careful not to spark a wildfire. Despite the delayed arrival of summer weather, wildfire danger is growing with warmer, drier weather, especially in eastern Washington.
DNR has banned burning from July through September in forested areas of the state. That means that campfires are allowed only in approved fire pits within designated state, county, municipal or other campgrounds. The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbeques is allowed. For more information, see DNR’s website at http://1.usa.gov/jpjiZO.
WDFW’s own public conduct rules for wildlife areas and water access sites prohibit discharging of fireworks at any time.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide up-to-date information about recreational opportunities around the state.