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Senior Off-Season Pass changes
A couple stands on the beach with their dog at sunset
Making our Senior Off-Season Pass Program more equitable
The off-season is one of the best times to visit your favorite state parks – especially for our seniors who apply for the Senior Off-Season Pass.
After these passes go on sale on Sept. 1, campers can enjoy solitude on popular trails, quiet evenings around the campfire and experience nature as it settles in for the winter.
However, this program is preparing to undergo a few changes to make off-season reservations easier for more of our seniors to enjoy.
After much consideration, we have decided to end the practice of refunding campers for reservations made in advance of the off-season and before they purchase their Senior Off-Season Pass. This means you will only be able to use your reservation discount on reservations made Sept. 1 through April, and after you purchase your discount pass. Refunds will not be issued for reservations made in advance, even if the reservation is made for a date in the off season.
We’re optimistic that this will equalize the playing field for our seniors and better support our parks and staff in the off-season.
Currently, pass holders can make advanced reservations for off-season dates, paying the full price for a campsite. Once they buy their off-season pass after Sept. 1, they can request to adjust the rate of their pre-made reservations down to the off-season pass rate, getting almost a full refund.
This practice has created some unintended consequences.
Though some of our seniors can afford to reserve sites in advance of the off-season pass sale, many with lower or less fluid incomes cannot. The result is an unequal playing field that lessens the opportunity for all our seniors to have access to camping and moorage at their favorite sites or in their favorite parks.
The Off-Season pass was created in the 1970s to encourage more campers to visit state parks in the off-season by making it free to reserve sites. At that time, State Parks was a tax-funded agency. However, that changed in 2011 and now we rely almost exclusively on fees.
RV parked at Pearrygin Lake State Park
When will the change go into effect?
Short answer: in 2023.
We will continue to honor reservations made in advance for the 2022-23 off season. The changes to the program will go into full effect ahead of the 2023-24 off season.
If you have any questions about the program change, please contact the Information Center at 360-902-8844 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What other discounts are available?
We are proud to also offer the free Senior Citizen Limited Income pass to Washington state residents who are 62 years of age or older. This pass is for limited income seniors who have a household gross income of $40,000 or less in a calendar year.
Limited Income passholders receive free entry to state parks, free watercraft launch, free trailer dump, a 50 percent discount on nightly camping or moorage fees and a 50 percent reduction in fee for the Senior Off-Season Pass.
The Senior Limited Income Pass does not take the place of a Discover Pass, so it will not be accepted in lands managed by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife or Department of Natural Resources.
Senior Off-Season Pass fast facts:
- Available to: Washington state residents who are 62 years of age or older.
- Provides: Free camping or moorage at one site per night. There is a $10 per night utility fee for camping at a site with hook-up services.
- Cost: $75; 50% off for Senor Limited Income pass holders. Visit our website to learn more.
- Pass sale begins: Sept. 1 every year; Discounted reservations cannot be made until this date and after a pass is purchased.
- Valid: Sept. 1 to March 31, seven days a week; April 1 to April 30, Sunday through Thursday.
- Apply: Visit our website to download your application.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please visit our website Off-Season Senior Citizen Pass or contact the Information Center at 360-902-8844 or email@example.com.