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Libraries Check Out Discover Passes in Pierce, Spokane and Skagit Counties

A new program allows individuals and families to rent Discover passes through a select number of local libraries.

Libraries are great. You can use their reference sections to research your next hike, rent books about hiking and on-trail adventures from them, and now there's one more reason to love your local library: Discover Passes you can borrow for your next adventure! 

This spring, Check Out Washington is launching a pilot program making family Discover Passes available through a select number of public libraries. These passes will be available at the Pierce County Library, Spokane city and county libraries, and the Mount Vernon Public Library

Discover Passes unlock adventure on state-managed lands. Photo by Anna Roth. 

The passes will be loaned by libraries as part of a backpack kit containing binoculars, field guides and other interpretive materials. Users will want to bring their own 10 Essentials, including food and water for the day, a map of the area, and extra clothes, particularly in winter and spring when the temperatures can fluctuate. 

Get out there

Normally, Discover Passes are associated to the individual who purchases them by writing the license plate number of the individual's car on the pass itself, but this means you need both a car to get to the trailhead and the means to purchase a pass. The Check Out Washington passes are being made available as a multi-vehicle family passes, so no license plate numbers are necessary for this pass to be valid, and folks can use rental cars or Zipcars to access the trailhead.

Signs like these at the trailhead indicate you're recreating on state-managed lands. Photo by Anna Roth.

Discover Passes are accepted on state lands, so to take advantage of this offer, you'll want to plan your next hike at a state park or on lands managed by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR). You can find out which pass is required for your next hike by searching WTA's Hiking Guide

Opening up hiking opportunities

Check Out Washington says they hope that providing these passes will help increase awareness and access to state lands, especially for those who might not otherwise be able to obtain a pass. Several state park systems already offer a loanable multi-vehicle public lands access pass through their public library systems.

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rebadeba on Libraries Check Out Discover Passes in Pierce, Spokane and Skagit Counties

Great idea! Let’s hope the program is well used and can expand state wide.

Posted by:

rebadeba on Feb 05, 2019 04:56 PM

bw_holco on Libraries Check Out Discover Passes in Pierce, Spokane and Skagit Counties

Seems like a great idea, but please consider that per state law, Discover passes are invalid unless they have a corresponding license plate number, so those using the "loaned" passes will most likely be issued a $100 ticket and have to fight it. WA DNR, WA State Parks, and WDFW personnel can and will issue you a ticket for this. They will have no way of knowing that the pass is a "rental" when they make their rounds through the trailhead checking vehicle passes and you're off on a hike.

But maybe this is what the counties want, considering that 100% of the Discover Pass fines go directly to county services (i.e. the libraries) and not any of the state agencies who issue the fine.

Food for thought.

Posted by:

bw_holco on Feb 19, 2019 10:28 AM

Washington Trails Association on Libraries Check Out Discover Passes in Pierce, Spokane and Skagit Counties

Hi bw_holco —

People participating in this program shouldn't worry about getting citations, since this is a pilot program that Washington State Parks is supporting. A handful of libraries in Washington purchased these passes through a grant from the Washington State Parks Foundation. Because they're specialty passes, they have a different design, and so passes from this program will look different than the Discover Passes most folks use. Enforcement officers have been made aware of this difference and passes through this program will be honored the same way as a purchased Discover Pass.

Posted by:

Washington Trails Association on Feb 20, 2019 01:12 PM

JimmyBob on Libraries Check Out Discover Passes in Pierce, Spokane and Skagit Counties

This defeats the whole object of the pass system, to generate income.

They need to get rid of this pass system, replace it with property taxes.

Posted by:

JamesHaitch on Mar 06, 2019 02:37 PM