Posts Tagged ‘Recreation’

The annual Discover Pass is the gift that keeps on giving (fun, fresh air, exercise, and much more)

December 8, 2014
Discover Pass

Buy your loved one a gift that will last the whole year, an annual Discover Pass! Now you can choose the start date at the time of purchase.

Not sure what to give your friends and loved ones this holiday season? How about an Annual Discover Pass? For only $35 (if purchased online) it’s the perfect gift that keeps on giving… all year long!

Another reason it makes a great gift…

You can choose the date you want the new Discover Pass to begin – December 25? January 1? June1? – any day you want within the next year. Choose the activation date during purchase – activation must start within 365 days of your date of purchase. When purchasing online, you must allow 10 days for mailing when you select a future start date.

mountain bikers riding a snowy trail

Photo: Randy Warnock/DNR

The best part?

With your holiday shopping out of the way you can spend those remaining shopping days doing what you really want to do… enjoying yourself at state-managed recreation sites.

Ordering is quick and easy!

Just click here to easily order as many Discover Passes as you want from the comfort of your home! You should receive the Discover Pass(es) in the mail within 10 days.

A great gift for any occasion…

Already have your holiday gift list done? Not to worry: the Annual Discover Pass makes a great gift any time of year for birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings… the list goes on and on!

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8 reasons DNR is thankful for volunteers

November 27, 2014
volunteers building trails

Volunteers help keep DNR-managed recreation sites clean, safe, and healthy. Photo: DNR.

Each year, volunteers of all ages put in thousands of hours helping DNR.

Their dedicated efforts and skills help us maintain and improve recreational sites, trails, natural areas, and other outdoor volunteer opportunities on the state trust lands we manage.

Some volunteers devote time every month; others pitch in a few hours here and there. Either way, we’re happy to get the help.

At DNR, we’re thankful to all of those who:

  1. Spent countless hours battling blackberries and scotch broom to keep these invasive plants from overtaking trails and natural areas.
  2. Volunteered for the Forest Watch Program.
  3. Provided information and nature interpretation to school children and other forest visitors.
  4. Trekked out in the field to collect data or monitor plant species — providing valuable information to staff scientists.
  5. Helped us maintain and build recreational trails.
  6. Organized volunteer work parties.
  7. Helped DNR keep campgrounds open to the public by becoming a volunteer camp host.
  8. …. and the many, many other activities that rely on the efforts of volunteers.

Rain or shine, DNR’s volunteers are always happy to show up and lend a hand. Photo by: DNR

To all of you, our sincere thanks! And a Happy Thanksgiving.

Got some time this winter? Plan to do some good for the DNR-managed lands you love! Check the DNR Volunteer Calendar to find opportunities to give back.

Celebrate going back to school in nature’s classroom

September 8, 2014

Take kids out to play and learn on DNR-protected land. Photo by: DNR/Jennifer Allison

As your children return to school, why not stretch their learning beyond the classroom?

DNR has many recreation opportunities in Washington’s great outdoors to connect your child with nature as their learning environment grows.

Why do kids need nature?
Lack of nature education and outdoor exposure is called Nature Deficit Disorder, coined by the writer Richard Louv in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods.”

Studies have found that connecting children with nature improves their ability to perform in school subjects such as math, reading, and science.

Check out some of the outdoor education opportunities DNR has to offer below, and help give your kid an extra edge. (more…)

Take a trip to visit a mystic mounded prairie

August 14, 2014

Looking for something kid-friendly to do on DNR-managed conservation lands? Let their imaginations run wild on 637 acres of grassland mounds at the DNR Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (NAP).

Mima Mounds

Camas blooms at the unique Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve managed by DNR. Photo: DNR/Birdie Davenport

Located next to Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington, Mima Mounds NAP protects the mounded Puget prairie landscape. Scientists differ on how the mounds formed; ice age flood deposits, earthquakes — even gophers — are among the formation theories offered.

Mima Mounds

Unique topography is one of the features of DNR’s Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve south of Olympia. Photo: DNR.

Rising to landmark status
In 1966, the National Park Service designated Mima Mounds a National Natural Landmark for its outstanding condition, illustrative value of a landform, rarity, and value to science and education. The site is one of 17 National Natural Landmarks in Washington state.

The NAP, established in 1976, includes native grasslands, a small Garry oak woodland, savannah (widely spaced oak trees with grass understory), Douglas-fir forest, and habitat for prairie-dependent butterflies and birds.

Unearthing site information and education

Mima Mounds Interpretive Center

Mima Mounds NAP has a lot of informational material for visitors to read while they’re there. DNR photo

Visitors to the site can stop at its interpretive center before stepping onto the trail that skirts around the mounds. The center provides historical and educational information about the site.

For those looking to get a better view of the area, a short set of stairs to the rooftop of the interpretive center provides a look from above.

Discover Pass logoDiscover Pass required
Don’t forget to grab your Discover Pass before heading out on this prairie
adventure. The Discover Pass is required to park a car at Mima Mounds NAP or anywhere in Capitol State Forest. This $30 annual access pass (or $10 day pass) is your ticket to Washington state great outdoors. All proceeds directly support state-managed outdoor recreation.

Adventure on!
Learn more about Mima Mounds NAP and other DNR adventures on our website at

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DNR has many volunteer opportunities planned in August

July 31, 2014
DNR volunteer event

Popular trails get worn and become more susceptible to erosion. Volunteers help DNR stretch its scarce maintenance dollars to keep trails safe. Photo: DNR

Interested in recreation on DNR managed land, but not sure how to get involved? Luckily, DNR has all sorts of volunteer opportunities on deck for August and we would love to see you there.

DNR volunteers are vital to maintaining a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for visitors to DNR’s recreation facilities and trails. This isn’t an easy feat, and DNR is blessed with many dedicated volunteers. In 2013, volunteers totaled 61,300 volunteer hours on recreation projects.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, check out some of DNR’s volunteer opportunities below. For more details and updates on all DNR recreation volunteer opportunities, visit our volunteer calendar.

August 2
Friends of Capitol Forest Monthly Work Party
Capitol State Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and volunteers from Friends of Capitol Forest for a work party to improve road crossing areas, remove wood supports on berms, and drainage. Kids are welcome! There is often a mountain bike ride after the work party.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the “Y” intersection of Waddell Creek Road and Sherman Valley Road.
Contact: Nick Cronquist, 360-480-2700

August 9
Walker Valley ORV Area Work
Where: Walker Valley
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff and other volunteers to help work on trails, clean ditches, haul gravel, brush trails, paint, pick up garbage, and more! No need to call first.
Directions: (Map) Meet at the Walker Valley Trailhead Information Kiosk: 18652 Peter Burns Rd., Mount Vernon, WA
Contact: Jim Cahill, 360-854-2874

August 16
Nicholson Horse Trails Work Party
Where: Sahara Creek Campground
Time: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What: Please join DNR staff and Pierce County Chapter Back Country Horsemen to work on the Nicholson Horse Trails.
Directions: Start at Elbe. Go 5.3 miles on Hwy 706. Turn left into the site.
Contact: Nancy Barker, 253-312-4301

August 23
Reiter Foothills ORV Work Party
Where: Reiter Foothills Forest
Time: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
What: Join DNR staff to enhance the Motorcycle Trials trail area and work other ORV trail projects.
Directions: Drive East on Hwy 2 through the town of Gold Bar. Turn left onto Reiter Road. Continue for 3.8 miles. Deer Flats Mainline Road will be on your left. Meet at the Deer Flats Mainline Gate.
Contact: Daniel Christian, 360-333-7846

Need a Discover Pass?
If you don’t have a Discover Pass, DNR staff can provide you with one for the day you volunteer. These volunteer events are eligible toward a complimentary Discover Pass.

Before you go, make sure to check our open and closure notices page.

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5 Boating Safety Tips: Know before you go

July 11, 2014
Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

Kayakers take advantage of nice weather to paddle in Puget Sound. Photo: DNR.

With the arrival of hot summer days, you may be anxious to get out on the water and play! However, there have been many close calls due to cold water and the unpredictable weather in Puget Sound.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is an advocate of safe and sustainable recreation. Before you head out to play, make sure you follow these five safety tips:

  1. Dress for the occasion. On a sunny day, a dip in the cool water might not sound like such a bad thing, but hypothermia can set in after only minutes of exposure. A wetsuit is a great way to stay safe and comfortable. If a wetsuit isn’t an option, wool clothing insulates better than cotton when wet.
  2. Practice self-rescue. In the event that you end up in the water unintentionally, being able to get back into your boat in deep water is imperative. Practice self-rescue in safe water before heading out.
  3. Be aware of offshore winds. When kayaking in open water, make sure to pay attention to off-shore winds that can make the paddle back to shore difficult.
  4. Paddle with a partner. If you kayak with a buddy, you’ll always have someone there in case of an emergency… plus, it’s much more fun.
  5. Always wear your PFD (personal floatation device). The most important thing to remember is that PFDs save lives. Don’t paddle without one.

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

    A group of kayakers paddle in Bellingham Channel. Cypress Island and one of the Cone Islands are in the background. Photo: DNR/Jason Goldstein

If you want to take your paddling safety skills to the next level, check out these resources:

FREE online paddle safety course
Washington Water Trails Association

If you operate a motor boat, you’ll need to get your Boater Education Card from State Parks.

Remember, be safe and have a great time on the water!

Do you have any water safety tips? Please send your comments to

Find waterside recreation sites for DNR-managed lands, recreation rules, opening and closure information, and more on our Recreation web page.

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Rec Alert: Lake Spokane Recreation Area CLOSED

July 10, 2014

Lake Spokane Campground is closed to the public while fire crews use the site to host base camp operations to fight the Lake Spokane fire.

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

Spokane Lake Campground is closed to help firefighting efforts. Photo by: KXLY 4 News

The Lake Spokane campground, day-use, water access areas, and boat launch are all completely closed to the public.

Although this is a DNR campground, the site has been managed by Washington State Parks since 2012. If you have questions about reservations at Lake Spokane, please call 509-465-5064.

Where can I go instead?
We’re asking the public to stay clear of Lake Spokane recreation area so fire crews can focus on their work. By visiting other sites, you will be helping the firefighters fight the fire. We understand the inconvenience of this situation and greatly appreciate your support.

During this closure, please visit one of the following nearby recreation instead:

  • Riverside State Park.
  • Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground. This location has a campground, day-use, and swimming area for public use.
  • Two public boat launches located at south end of Lake Spokane.
  • The DNR-managed Dragoon Creek Campground.

Nine Mile Recreation Area Campground
11226 W Charles Rd
Nine Mile Falls, Washington 99026

Riverside State Park
9711 W. Charles Road
Nine Mile Falls, WA 99026

Dragoon Creek Campground
Start in Spokane at the junction of US Hwy 2 and US Hwy 395.
Go north on US Hwy 395 for 10.2 mi.
Turn left on Dragoon Creek Rd. Go 0.4 mi. to camp entrance.

Please remember a Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to these campgrounds.

Stay connected
Make sure you’re in the loop this fire season. Get updates on Washington wildfires by following the DNR Fire Twitter.

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Recreation Alert: Woodard Bay NRCA to close temporarily for construction

June 10, 2014

Starting in July, DNR will close a large portion of Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) through December 2014.

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction efforts. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Woodard Bay NRCA will be closed July through December 2014 for construction. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

The access point from Whitham Road, and the trails leading from this area, will be closed to protect public safety during construction of public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA.

Once completed, the updated interpretative design will highlight both the ecological values and rich cultural history of Woodard Bay.

Will I be able to visit Woodard Bay NRCA this summer?
Partially. The entire NRCA will be closed for the month of July. However, the Woodard Bay Upper Overlook Trail—currently closed to protect nesting herons—will re-open in August, providing public access to views of the bay. The Overlook Trail will be accessible from the parking lot at the north end of the Chehalis Western Trail.

What’s happening at Woodard Bay NRCA?

Woodard Bay NRCA concept drawings

This concept drawing shows one possible final look for Woodard Bay NRCA once construction is complete later this year. Click this image to see a larger version. Drawing by: DNR

This temporary closure marks the next phase of a larger project to restore and improve Woodard Bay NRCA.

The restoration phase was completed in March 2013, allowing DNR to develop improved educational and low-impact recreation opportunities.

In addition to the natural beauty of Woodard Bay NRCA, the area holds valuable cultural, historical, recreational, and conservation qualities.

Project details
The development project includes four major features:

  • A new environmental and cultural learning shelter.
  • An expanded parking lot with a new bike shelter to accommodate bike parking, since bicycle use is not allowed in the NRCA.
  • Relocation of the current “boom foreman’s” office and bathroom away from the shoreline.
  • Installation of several educational areas and signs.

Where can I go instead?
We encourage you to visit nearby parks and the Chehalis Western Trail during this closure. Nearby parks include:

This site shows the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

This site is the future home of new public access facilities and interpretive sites in the Woodard Bay NRCA. Photo by: DNR/Jessica Payne

Learn more about Woodard Bay NRCA on the DNR website:

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Water safety first as warm temperatures return

May 1, 2014
Blow-hole along the Strait of Juan De Fuca west of Neah Bay

Kayaker is sprayed by a blow-hole along the Strait of Juan De Fuca west of Neah Bay. Photo: DNR

This week’s warm temperatures are drawing large crowds to Washington State’s lakes, rivers, ocean beaches, and Puget Sound.

Safety first
Rafting, boating, and swimming can be great fun, but we want to make sure you make safety your first priority.

Washington’s cold waters can turn a sunny adventure into a scary situation in a matter of seconds.

Water excursions on DNR-managed land
Look on our Recreation web page to find out which waterside recreation sites on DNR-managed lands are open. Locate resources for safe and sustainable paddling here.

Boater Education Card required
Remember, if you operate a boat, you’ll need to get your Boater Education Card from State Parks and have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket available for each person aboard.

Additional water safety reminders come from the Washington State Department of Health.

National Boating Safety Week is May 17 through May 23. Teach your loved ones the essentials of water safety with tips from the Safe Boating Campaign.

Cypress Head camping

Sunrise at Cypress Head on Cypress Island — a DNR-managed Natural Resources Conservation Area. Photo: Jason Goldstein/DNR

Something to look forward to…
Cypress Island: rich in DNR’s most popular boat-in campgrounds and day-use recreation sites will open Memorial Day weekend.

Make sure you get your Discover Pass before you go! One $35* Annual Discover Pass grants you vehicle access to DNR recreation sites, campgrounds, trails, and 2.2 million acres of state trust lands.

Most importantly, be safe and have fun!

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*Annual Discover Pass is $35 including transaction and dealer fees if purchased at a license dealer, by phone or online. 

Rec Alert Updates: Harvest activities & road work might affect your visits to NW Washington

April 29, 2014

Blog updated: October 9, 2014

Timber harvests and road work are potential hazards when using DNR-managed lands for recreation.

This blog will help keep you aware of forest activity on DNR-managed land in Northwest Washington over the next month.

A truck loaded down with timber is driving down a forest road

Be aware of logging trucks and pull off to the side in a designated pull out if you see one coming your way. Photo by: DNR

Here are the latest recreation alerts:

  • New! Blanchard State Forest — Road building and timber harvest activities will restrict access to the north end of Blanchard Mountain through December 31.
  • Harry Osborne State Forest — Read more to learn updates on the Wrangler Connection Trail and Mac Johnson Trail closures.
  • Stewart Mountain — Heavy truck traffic continues on the Olsen Creek Road System.
  • New! North Fork Road System — The North Fork road system is closed for the fall for road construction.
  • New! Alger/Anderson Mountain — Mountain gate is now open for the remainder of the year.

Check back frequently, as we will post updates here as they become available. (more…)


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