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The Times 

2021-22 fee increase will ensure Sno-Parks continue to operate

 

March 25, 2021



OLYMPIA—The Washington State Parks Winter Recreation Program announced the price of Sno-Park permits would increase when they go on sale on Nov. 1. This will be the first increase since 2009.

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

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

Seasonal permit: $5

Annual snowmobile permit: $50

Special Groomed Trail Sticker: $70

Daily Sno Park permit: $25

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 that is a model for the 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 the demand for services and equipment.”

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

 

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