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Washington state parks are free on New Year's Day

The first of 12 fee-free days at Washington state parks is Jan. 1.

SEATTLE — Celebrate the start of 2022 with a trip to a Washington state park for free.

Jan. 1 is the first of 12 fee-free days in 2022 where park visitors won’t need to display a Discover Pass for day-use parking.

Normally, a Discover Pass costs $10 for a day-long visit or $30 for an annual pass and is required for any vehicles accessing Washington state parks or lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources or the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The free day applies at more than 100 state parks across Washington and 350 recreation sites. However, it doesn’t apply to overnight stays or rental facilities, and Sno-Park passes are still required during the winter.

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In addition to Jan. 1, which state officials call “First Day Hikes,” the following dates are also fee-free days:

Jan. 17 — Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
March 9 Billy Frank Junior's Birthday
March 19 — State Parks’ 108th Birthday
April 22 — Earth Day
June 11 — National Get Outdoors Day
June 12 — Free Fishing Day
June 19 — Juneteenth
Sept. 25 — National Public Lands Day
Oct. 10  World Mental Health Day
Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
Nov. 25 — Native American Heritage Day

Juneteenth was the most recent addition to the list of free days. It was added in May after the state Legislature passed a measure making it a paid holiday for state workers starting in 2022.

Juneteenth honors a milestone in Black history in the United States. On June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years earlier. The reaction to the news was jubilation and celebrations – coined Juneteenth – which continued in the U.S. for decades.

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