Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

Posted by Jonathan Guzzo at Nov 17, 2011 03:05 PM |

Agencies that manage the state Discover Pass are very likely to deliver a transferable pass in 2012. There are several forms this could take, which will depend on administrative challenges and revenue impacts inherent in each proposal..

A couple of months ago, we put out a survey asking what you thought about the newly-minted Washington state Discover Pass. More than 3,000 hikers responded. And while 68% of respondents support the Discover Pass, one thing about it really put a pebble in your boot.

In all, more than 87% of hikers do not think that one-pass-per-vehicle is a reasonable structure for the Discover Pass.

We understand the widespread annoyance by this aspect of the Discover Pass, and we're working hard with state land management agencies to correct that problem.

The agencies that manage the Discover Pass - the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and State Parks - plan to deliver a transferable pass in 2012. We don't anticipate much opposition at the state legislature in early 2012, because transferability was one of the main issues that legislators of both parties voiced as a concern in the lobby campaign for this legislation. But nothing happens without effort in Olympia, and we'll need to keep this issue in front of legislators given their eyes will be glued to the state budget deficit that could mount to $2 billion.

What does transferable mean? At a minimum, it means being able to put more than one license plate on a Discover Pass. Other options could include a two-license pass, plus the option to buy another pass at a discounted rate. Or perhaps a two-license pass, coupled with the option to purchase a more expensive universally transferable pass. Much of this will depend on administrative challenges and revenue impacts inherent in each proposal.

Why wasn't the Discover Pass transferable in the first place? From a public policy perspective, the agencies were concerned that making the pass transferable would cut into revenue, which they desperately needed to keep state lands open and hikeable. The state must balance the budget each year, which requires that they make actual cuts when revenues are down. (By contrast, the federal government can spend into the red.) Agencies were hopeful that people who use two or more vehicles to access state lands (say, a sedan for hiking and a truck for fishing) would purchase two full-priced Discover Passes.

Actual revenue says otherwise. The emerging assumption now is that more people will purchase a pass that can be used on more than one vehicle, even if it costs a little more money. From what I am hearing in my meetings with state agencies, they understand this and they want to fix it.

If you were one of the 3,074 people who took the time to take WTA's Discover Pass survey, I want to thank you for weighing in. We look forward to providing you opportunities to get engaged in the effort to improve the Discover Pass in the upcoming Washington state legislative session.

Comments

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

I hope that they would also consider the number of people who might be interested in owning a Discover Pass but don't own a car. Zipcar users are completely locked out of a system that ties the pass to a license plate rather than to a person.

Posted by:


bee on Nov 21, 2011 08:32 PM

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

I strongly agree. Zipcar and rental car users get completely screwed by this system. The pass in its present form simply means I no longer go to state parks, ever. You should not be required to own your own car in order to use the state parks.

Posted by:


jason on Nov 21, 2011 08:32 PM

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

If they do the transferable pass it will ensure I buy one each year because most of the State and DNR Land I visit with family in the family car but most of the mountain hiking I do alone is in my truck so this will ensure their revenues go up. By the way I feel priveleged I see you used my picture of Larabee State Park. Thanks WTA
Mike

Posted by:


Mike on Nov 19, 2011 03:50 PM

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

Do you see a license number on a NW Forest Pass? No.
That system works - why is that so difficult for the state to figure out?

Posted by:


schroder on Nov 20, 2011 11:38 AM

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

I'm glad to see the state finally coming to their senses. When I purchased my Discovery Pass back in July I was so upset when they told me I had to put my license number on it I refused. I left it blank. I've used the pass in multiple vehicles since and have never had a problem. I wonder if anyone has been cited for having the license number blank on their pass. Hopefully, it's not something being enforced.

Posted by:


GravyDavy on Nov 23, 2011 01:01 PM

A "Transferable" Discover Pass?

Cars don't buy passes, people do. I am not going to use state parks until this is corrected. I feel that if I have to buy a pass I should be able to use in any vehicle I am using. Same goes for the state snow park permits this year. Only one vehicle allowed. There should be no restrictions regarding a specific vehicle. I bought an American the Beautiful Pass and will just visit National Parks and National Forests where the other passes are required.

Posted by:


charlie on Dec 09, 2011 10:53 PM