Updates on your state park services, events, new initiatives and more
Washington State Parks supports America’s State Parks Ambassador Program
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is inviting young people to apply to the America’s State Parks Ambassador Program, a non-profit organization promoting state parks across the country.
Residents between the ages of 16 and 28, who enjoy the outdoors and like to write, blog, take photos or videos and use social media are eligible to apply. Prizes of outdoor gear are being offered to new ambassadors as an incentive to join the movement. The recruitment effort for 2013 ends November 1.
Any eligible person who applies in October will receive a welcome gift worth $10. In addition, people who are chosen to be ambassadors and who meet other criteria before Nov. 1 will be eligible for additional prizes.
The Ambassador Program was started in 2010 to promote increase public awareness about the value of nearly 8,000 “close to home” state parks all over the country.
For more information about the America’s State Parks Ambassador Program, visit www.americasstateparks.org/Ambassadors.
Washington State Parks partners with Seattle Seahawks on boating safety education
Washington boaters are invited to learn how to boat safely this year and qualify for prizes. The Washington State Parks Boating Safety Program and the Seattle Seahawks are launching a contest to highlight boater education.
Although summer is coming to a close, there are still committed boaters on the water during the fall and winter months. State Parks urges boaters to be prepared, take a boater safety class to enhance their skills and learn how to be safe on the water, get a boater education card and enter to win prizes from the Seattle Seahawks, including a VIP game package. Washington state boaters who take a boater safety class and apply for a boater education card will automatically be entered to win prizes, including an autographed football and autographed replica jersey. The grand prize is a Seahawks VIP game package and includes four tickets to the Dec. 29 Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, an autographed replica helmet, two adult-sized life jackets and other prizes.
The Boater Education Sweepstakes can be found at www.seahawks.com/boatered. Prize winners will be selected beginning Oct. 7, with the grand prize winner selected on Nov. 7. Winners will be notified by phone or e-mail. No purchase is required to participate in the contest.
For more information, see the State Parks news release.
State Parks and SUBWAY® restaurants launch No Family Left Inside
In honor of the Washington State Parks Centennial and National Public Lands Day, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and SUBWAY® restaurants have partnered to launch No Family Left Inside. Running the entire month of September, this program will reward park visitors by honoring their Discover Pass in all 406 SUBWAY® restaurants located in 17 counties throughout Western Washington.
Anyone who visits participating SUBWAY® restaurants and shows their Discover Pass during the month of September will receive a free six-inch sandwich with the purchase of a six-inch sandwich of equal or greater value and a 30 oz. drink. SUBWAY® restaurants also will distribute the Washington State Parks brochure – Adventure Awaits - at all locations throughout the region.
SUBWAY® restaurants in the following counties are participating in the No Family Left Inside program: King, Snohomish, Chelan, Clallam, Douglas, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Thurston and Whatcom. On Sept. 28, the 20th anniversary of National Public Lands Day, the Discover Pass requirement is waived at Washington state parks. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. Volunteers will plant trees, remove trash and build trails at public lands in Washington and across the nation.
SUBWAY® restaurants will help celebrate this special day by giving away $5,000 in cash cards to the first 100 people to visit designated state parks on Sept. 28. These parks include Larrabee near the city of Bellingham, Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, Lincoln Rock in Douglas County, Lake Sammamish in Issaquah, Millersylvania near Olympia, Twin Harbors in Grays Harbor County, Belfair in Mason County, Dosewallips on the shore of Hood Canal in Jefferson County, Fort Worden in Port Townsend and Saltwater in King County.
For more information, see the State Parks news release.
Reservations for 2014 season – Available August 2013
Overnight reservations are available starting Aug. 15 for the 2014 season that begins April 1. Why not reserve a campsite, vacation house, cabin or yurt in one of more than 80 state parks with overnight accommodations? Plan it now, and you'll have all winter to look forward to a fun park stay with family and friends.
Washington State Parks has something for everyone – whether you enjoy camping out under the wide-open skies of Eastern Washington, listening all night to crashing ocean waves in a Pacific Coast park or resting peacefully under a canopy of trees. You can tent it, take an RV or plan a fun stay in a cabin, yurt or historic vacation house.
Repeat visitors will notice changes this year in State Parks' rate structure and cancelation policies. Changes have been made to ensure more people have access to campsites, while State Parks works to sustain the park system long-term.
Rates for some campsites will be designated as "popular" and priced at a higher rate, while an equal number will be offered at "economy" rates, providing the public more opportunities to camp and save. The majority of sites will be priced at a middle level called "basic." Savings also can be made by booking mid-week in the spring and fall shoulder seasons and anytime in winter.
Cancelation policies also are changing to ensure that more people get access to campsites, as many customers have requested. People who cancel close to their arrival date or simply do not show up to use their campsite will forfeit a greater portion of their fees than before. This change is intended to decrease lost opportunities for campers who would have reserved sites had they been available – and to ensure that State Parks does not lose revenue needed to keep the park system operating for all to enjoy.
With less tax support to provide services, Washington State Parks must behave more like a business to keep on providing popular public access and services that the public expects and deserves. The more businesslike practices will feel familiar to many, as they are current practice in the hospitality and travel industry.
We hope you will plan a stay in 2014 and enjoy the best your park system has to offer. For information on reservation changes, visit the reservation changes or cancelation web pages.
Boating safety laws change July 28
The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, its Boating Safety Council and other boating leaders in Washington worked to amend the law to make boating safer in Washington. The change is intended to deter people from operating a boat while under the influence (BUI) by increasing the penalty and making breathalyzer tests mandatory. Read more about the law change in the BUI fact sheet.
State Parks launches official mobile app for Centennial 2013
After more than a year in the making, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is proud to announce the launch of the first Official Washington State Parks Smartphone App! Just in time to celebrate the State Parks Centennial, the Pocket Ranger ® Smartphone App is now available for both iPhone and Android devices.
The Pocket Ranger ® Smartphone App is a FREE on-the-go interactive guide for park goers, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It gives users access to more than 100 state parks, historic sites and campgrounds with detailed information, amenities, facility maps and directions. Park visitors can plan a perfect outdoor trip by searching for a park by GPS location or activity for nearby locations to enjoy hiking, camping, boating, birding and more. Once visitors are in parks, advanced GPS and GIS mapping technology allows them to track and record trails, mark waypoints, locate friends within the parks and enjoy GeoChallenge activities and games. Users can even cache GPS maps in advance to ensure navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception.
The app provides plenty of other features to maximize visitors' outdoor adventures, including:
- Educational information, amenities, maps and directions
- Real-time Calendar of Events
- News, advisories and weather alerts
- Social networking and photo sharing
- Potentially life-saving Alert feature
- Advanced GPS mapping features
- Record trail distance and time elapsed
- Recall, post or share saved data
- Friend Finder
- Built-in compass
Please support Washington State Parks by downloading the app onto your iPhone or Android device and then give the app a positive review! The app's rating in iTunes and Android Market should reflect all of the great functions it offers park goers. Unfortunately, when an app only has a small number of reviews, negative comments will strongly affect its rating. Help us prevent unwarranted negative comments from adversely affecting our app's rating.
State Parks is excited to be collaborating with ParksByNature Network™ to provide this free service to the public. If you have comments or suggestions to improve the app, please e-mail email@example.com.