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Posted on: May 24, 2021

State Parks, recreation land managers designate Juneteenth a free day

Designation means four free days in June

OLYMPIA – May 24, 2021 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission announces Juneteenth will now be a Discover Pass free day.

In addition to this new free day, June also has three established free days: 

  • Saturday, June 5, in recognition of National Trails Day
  • Saturday, June 12, in honor of National Get Outdoors Day
  • Sunday, June 13, for Free Fishing Weekend(WDFW has designated both June 12 and 13 as Free Fishing Weekend.)

June 19 honors one of the most important days in Black American history. On Juneteenth, 1865, the Emancipation Proclamation was read to the enslaved people of Texas. This was the last state to have the proclamation read aloud. Though President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, slavery continued in Texas for two and a half years. 

Two years ago, Gov. Jay Inslee recognized Juneteenth in a proclamation statewide. In April, the Washington Legislature passed a bill making Juneteenth a paid state holiday for state workers beginning in 2022.

On Saturday, June 19, visitors will not need to display a Discover Pass for day-use parking at Washington state parks and on recreation lands managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The new designation reflects a commitment among state lands agencies to promote diversity, equity and inclusion as core values.

The Discover Pass costs $30 annually or $10 for a one-day permit and is required for vehicle access to state recreation lands managed by Washington State Parks, WDFW and DNR. 

The legislation that created the Discover Pass also allowed State Parks to designate up to 12 free days when the pass would not be required for day visits to state recreation lands. 

The Discover Pass provides parking access to state parks and lands. Day users at state parks must display a Discover Pass in their vehicles – on the dashboard or hanging on the rearview mirror. Overnight visitors to state parks pay fees for camping and other overnight accommodations, and day access is included in the overnight fee. 

On days that are not free, visitors must have a Discover Pass to park on WDFW and DNR lands. 

The remaining 2021 Discover Pass free days are:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 25 — National Park Service Birthday
  • Saturday, Sept. 25 — National Public Lands Day
  • Thursday, Nov. 11 — Veterans Day
  • Friday, Nov. 26 – Autumn Day

For information about the Discover Pass, visit

News media contact:
Meryl Lassen, Communications Office, (503)490-8796


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: 21-026

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