washington state parks

Washington State Parks

If you decide to go for a hike this weekend, be safe and responsible – that’s the message state and federal officials are giving to recreationalists. For other counties trying to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in their borders, the message is: don’t come here.

You don’t have to stay home, just follow your county’s travel guidelines, says Kittitas County public information officer Kasey Knutson. Sometimes that means you shouldn’t travel, like to Kittitas County.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Mother’s Day at Palouse Falls State Park in southeastern Washington looked like a scene out of the movie Mad Max

Massive RVs sped down the gravel washboard of Palouse Falls Road. They kicked up drifts of dust. In all, Palouse Falls, with its modest parking lot and viewing area saw hundreds and hundreds of visitors last Saturday and Sunday. 

Tom Banse / NW News Network

There were once big plans for many public events to mark the 40th anniversary of the catastrophic 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The coronavirus pandemic blew up those plans, but many are resurfacing online this week and next.

Courtney Flatt/NWPB

More than 100 state parks and recreation areas opened up Tuesday, providing more outdoor space for eagerly awaiting hikers and boaters. 

Sacajawea Historical State Park sits at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, on the outskirts of Pasco.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

More than 100 Washington state parks made the cut to reopen for day use beginning Tuesday, but aficionados of Pacific Coast and Columbia River Gorge getaways will have to wait a while longer.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Outdoor enthusiasts in Washington may be looking forward to the reopening of many shuttered state parks and public lands next week. But a few of Washington's most popular state parks could stay closed because the surrounding communities are worried about crowds and renewed disease spread.

Ted Warren / AP Photo

Last weekend should have seen thousands of anglers flock to Washington state lakes for the always-popular lowland lakes trout opener. Like so much else, opening day of fishing season was canceled due to the coronavirus. But freshwater fishing is coming back soon, along with significant additional elements of the  outdoor recreation scene.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Remember back when it didn't cost anything to visit a state park for the day? A senior Republican in the Washington Legislature says the state's budget surplus should make it possible for park access to be free again.

Tom Banse / NW News Network

Dozens of Pacific Northwest doctors are teaming up with a national nonprofit to write a different kind of prescription. Their "park prescriptions" direct patients with obesity, anxiety, depression or certain chronic conditions to spend more time outside.

Washington State Parks

Washington is getting its first new full-service state park in many years. The planned park build-out is on land the state owns along the Nisqually River near Eatonville, Washington.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Coastal erosion is chewing away at one of the Northwest's most popular recreation areas. It's threatening the main campground and other amenities at Cape Disappointment State Park, which has the second most camper visits in the Washington State Park system.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

History buffs, politicians and park rangers gathered Friday to celebrate the restoration of an often overlooked historic site in the Washington State Park system. Jackson House State Park Heritage Site features a small log cabin where settlers plotted in 1852 to make the lands north of the Columbia River into a separate territory from Oregon.

Washington State Parks - tinyurl.com/y8zlz8ca

If Washington lawmakers don’t pass a state budget by June 30, the state will go into a partial government shutdown. And the impacts would be significant.

So what would that look like?

Washington State Parks

"Limited" commercial advertising is coming to Washington State Parks. The state park system will begin placing ads in parks as early as this summer to make itself more self-sustaining.

Weyerhaeuser

It is getting more expensive to be a committed outdoor enthusiast in Washington state. An annual pass for state parks is $30. A National Forest pass could be another $20 to $30. There are also fees for campgrounds and snowmobile/ski trail parking.

Mischa Cowles, Washington State Parks.

It could be one of the largest Maple wood thefts from Washington State Parks land. Thieves in search of valuable “figured maple” wood cut down 21 Big Leaf Maple trees on undeveloped property in southern Puget Sound. Park Ranger Mischa Cowles discovered the theft Friday on Harstine Island. She says she first noticed a road had been punched through a wall of ferns, Salal, and Huckleberry bushes.