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Posted on: March 18, 2021

Sno-Park fees to increase this fall

2021-22 prices will ensure Sno-Parks continue to operate

OLYMPIA – March 18, 2021 – The Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program announced today that the price of Sno-Park permits will increase when they go on sale again Nov. 1. This will be the first increase since 2009.

The price increases reflect the rising cost of Sno-Park operations, which include trail grooming, plowing, clearing lots and roads, bathroom maintenance, fuel and staffing. In addition, the program has had to replace aging equipment, including snowcats. Finally, over the last 12 years, the program opened several new permanent Sno-Parks and created temporary Sno-Parks to meet customer demand. 

The Sno-Park permit fees for the 2021-22 season are:

  • Seasonal permit:                                  $50 (up from $40)
  • Annual snowmobile permit:                  $50 (up from $40)
  • Special Groomed Trail Sticker:             $70 (up from $40)
  • Daily Sno Park permit:                         $25 (up from $20)

The Discover Pass is not needed for parking at Sno-Parks.

In 2019, the Winter Recreation Advisory Committee, which oversees non-motorized Sno-Parks, appointed a subcommittee to review permit fees. The subcommittee surveyed and compared Washington’s fees to those of other private and public entities, some of which charge several hundred dollars a season for one family to access one location. 

The subcommittee also called on such stakeholders as ski and dogsled clubs, the majority of whom supported the increase.

“Washington state has a wonderful Sno-Park program and is a model for rest of the nation,” said long-time volunteer Karen Behm of the Central Cascades Winter Recreation Council. “The 12-year lapse in rate hikes created constant challenges when it came to meeting demand for services and equipment.”

The Winter Recreation Program is fully self-supporting, relying on Sno-Park permit sales, snowmobile fees and a small portion of the state’s fuel tax to fund operation of 130 Sno-Parks statewide. 

High demand during pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sno-Park use reached an all-time high. Winter Recreation staff and partners responded to customer demand by opening a new Sno-Park near Winthrop, three temporary play areas near Cle Elum and a sledding hill in Southwest Washington. This quick response helped to ease traffic, parking congestion and safety hazards, particularly along the I-90 corridor.

News media contacts:
Meryl Lassen, Communications Office, (503) 490-8796
Pamela McConkey, Winter Recreation Program manager, (360) 790-9239
media@parks.wa.gov   

About the State Parks Winter Recreation Program
The Winter Recreation Program manages more than 3,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, 811 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and more than 120 Sno-Parks (plowed parking areas near snowmobile and cross-country ski trails) on public and private lands in Washington. The Winter Recreation Program is supported entirely by user fees, snowmobile registrations and a percentage of the state fuel tax. Follow the Winter Recreation Program on Twitter at @WaStatePks_WNTR.

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About Washington State Parks

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission manages more than 100 state parks and properties totaling approximately 120,000 acres. The Commission provides a variety of recreation opportunities for citizens and provides stewardship protection for a diverse array of natural, cultural and historic resources. State Parks’ statewide programs include long-distance trails, boating safety and winter recreation. 

News release number: 21-015
 

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