NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - The first week in July has proven to be the busiest week for local park rangers ticketing cars without their Discover Pass.
Riverside State Park rangers ticketed nearly 70 vehicles without a Discover Pass from Thursday, July 4 to Sunday, July 7.
The Discover Pass is required at all of Washington State Parks. An annual pass costs $30 and a daily pass costs $10. Since it was introduced in July of 2011, July has been a busy month for pass sales as people renew their expiring annual passes.
Riverside State Park manager Chris Guidotti said the statewide trend of selling nearly as many $10 daily passes as $30 annual passes holds true at Riverside State Park, even though the legislature designed the prices to sell more annual passes.
“What we’re finding is we get a lot of tourism here in the Riverside area,” Guidotti said. “A lot of folks who are in town to visit Washington are only here for a day and they want to check the swinging bridge out at the Bowl and Pitcher.”
But while those daily passes may mean more revenue, they also equate to more work for rangers.
“Unfortunately the dailies are mainly sold at the park level and we took a 40 percent staff cut at the same time that we were implementing the program,” Guidotti said. “It’s been really difficult to do a really good job of selling passes, in particular, the volume of traffic we get with the dailies has had a significant impact on the staff.”
Saturday, Riverside State Park expects thousands of visitors as it hosts the Dirty Dash. For the first time this year, each vehicle attending will also need a Discover Pass.
So far this year, not including June or July, the state has sold 1.3 million Discover Passes.
The fine for parking without a Discover Pass is $99. People who have a pass but forget to display it can have tickets reduced to $59.