Navigating Western Washington

Navigating Western Washington

Kayla Ducey

Washington state is a unique mark on this vast planet.  There are a lot of interesting biomes in this distinct state. There are deserts, a rainforest, mountain ranges, and lush forests of Douglas Firs and Hemlocks. Lucky to have such diverse land with lots of opportunities, it still seems that there are many people’s that lack the excitement of trekking this uncommon place. So, instead of going to Millersylvania every weekend, this is an opportunity to  try something new!  

A large portion of Washington State’s forests are covered with coniferous forest. Coniferous means a tree that is cone-bearing or needle-bearing. These trees are commonly prevalent here, their beauty only then matched by the gorgeous coast nearby and the striking mountain ranges that fill the skies.

USDA

Discover Passes:

In order to gain more funds for Washington State Parks, a pass has been implemented. This pass allows visitors to enter any Washington State Park. This does not include National Parks that may be in Washington. For example, Mount Rainier National Park. Which is located in Washington but is not a State Park. National Parks have their own systems for purchasing entries. Either paying online or showing up and paying at a toll booth. Some of these National Parks have “Fee Free Days”. These days usually coincide with National Holidays. A close “Fee Free Day” for Mount Rainier National Park is April 17th, 2021. So, stop on by!

Discover Passes are very accessible now a days. You can go online and purchase one from a secured government website (https://discoverpass.wa.gov/) , or you can simply call this phone number: (844) 271-7041. To make things even easier, Discover Passes are also purchasable at stores such as Fred Meyers and REI.

Purchasing a Discover Pass through the government issued website.

*Please note that some parks offer fishing and boating, further licensing and permits are required. Licenses can be purchased and obtained through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/)

Washington has a lot of trees and forests. It’s a nice idea to explore the states we live in and embrace their quirks. Below is a very narrowed list of some of the more alluring adventures for the amateurs and self-proclaimed pro-survivalists. 

Lake Sylvia State Park – 1812 Lake Sylvia Rd N, Montesano, WA 98563

Lake Sylvia is a great park for the whole family, there is a lot to do in one place. There is a playground for children, and there is non-motor boating. This park features a .5 mile ADA hiking trail and 5 miles of regular hiking. This park also features swimming during the summer, and freshwater fishing. This park overall is great for multi-generational families because it has many ADA spots, and activities to entertain children. 

For more information and reservations visit: https://parks.state.wa.us/534/Lake-Sylvia

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge – 100 Brown Farm Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98516

Nisqually Wild Life Refugee is on a beautiful plot of land, surrounded by waters and trees. This low-land area is home to several different bird species. If you are a bird watcher or an avid nature photographer, this refuge is for you. Not to be confused for a park, running and biking are prohibited in the refuge. There is a no pets policy and an entry fee. The entry free can either be a one-time payment of $12.00 for an annual pass or an entrance fee of $3.00 per four adults. Out of respect for the land and the Nisqually Refuge, is is strongly advised to stay on the trails and to not use any drones on the premises. 

Fun Tip: To see more wildlife, correspond your visits to the tides! 

For more information to plan a trip, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Billy_Frank_Jr_Nisqually/visit/plan_your_visit.html

Tolmie State Park – 7730 61st Ave NE, Olympia, WA 98506

Another beloved family park! This park offers ADA accommodations for hiking trails and bathrooms! There is 3 miles of scenic hiking and a calm-watered beach. Tolmie Sate Park features a day pass purchase or the Discover pass is accepted. For those who are interested in wildlife, there are lots of opportunities to see crabs, and shellfish. Birds are also among the area soaring through the sky.

For more information, visit: https://parks.state.wa.us/297/Tolmie

Franklin Falls Trailhead – Denny Creek Trail, North Bend, WA 98045

An easy hike that has a remarkable end. The Franklin Falls Trail is inviting for all people kids and adults, alike. The pass needed for this trail is different than the discover pass, it is the Northwest Forest Pass. This pass like the Discover Pass is very popular and worth considering for purchase (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=fsbdev2_027010) This trail is very popular, so try to arrive early to get a good spot. This is a good trail for someone who wants to be alone, as there is lots of people nearby, walking with you. 

For more directions and tips, visit https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/franklin-falls

Mossyrock Park – 202 Ajlune Rd, Mossyrock, WA 98564

Offering a serene view and many features. Mossyrock Park has disc gold, horseshoe, volleyball, and swimming. The best part about swimming here is that there are coin-operated showers and laundry facilities. You can also book a camping spot year round and a boat launch that is available for most of the year except during December 20th – January 1st, where the whole park is closed. For trails, there is a 3.5 mile loop trail with almost a whole mile of that being ADA! For fees, this park only has a $10.00 fee on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (along with holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day). Every other day is free entry!

For reservations and more visit https://www.mytpu.org/community-environment/parks-recreation/mossyrock-park/#pattern_8.

Evans Creek Preserve

Low-land parking: 4001 224th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98053 
Upper-land parking: 3650 Sahalee Way NE

Another ADA friendly trail with both built-trail systems and classic-dirt trails. There is a lot to do with nature in this wetland-meadow environment. For those adrenaline-junkies, this area is frequented by animals, even black bears! In the butterfly seasons, there may be a “butterfly person” documenting different species. There are two parts of this area. There is the upper-land area, and the lower-land area which is more suitable for ADA.

For more information, please visit: https://www.sammamish.us/parks-recreation-facilities/parks-trails/evans-creek-preserve/

South Whidbey State Park – 4128 S Smugglers Cove Rd, Freeland, WA 98249

A  panoramic drive to this wonderful vista or a short ferry ride from Mukilteo will get you to this breathtaking park. A perfect example of tree life cycles and the lives of old trees. Due to decaying trees, camping has been closed permanently. However, a day-trip may be just what you need to get away from the bustling cities. Packed with huge coniferous trees and a 500-year-old-cedar, there is something here for everyone. Like many other parks, South Whidbey has an optional day-pass or an annual Discover Pass can be purchased. Although there are ADA bathrooms, there is loud jet noises from the U.S. Navy training mission, so if noise is a trigger for a family member or friend, this may be an adventure to tuck into your backpack. There is a total of 3.5 mile hiking trails, and all young visitors are encouraged to become junior rangers! A place full of adventure and possible opportunities.

For trails maps visit: https://parks.state.wa.us/585/South-Whidbey

Fort Casey – 1280 Engle Road, Coupeville, Washington, United States

A must for History-Buffs and all people who love military. Fort Casey is a unique venture with lots of good stories and history. There are trails around this beautiful site, and there is lots to check out. Visit inside the building or out, there is something you will see and remember. This park uses the Discover Pass or day pass. The trails and area around Fort Casey are one of a kind. The 1,200 mile path that lays beyond is a triumph many hikers try to prevail! The fields surrounding the fort are also sublime for kite-flyers. Whether your there for a day, or trying to walk the 1,200 mile trail, there is a lot to do in this one place!

For more information about tours, open-seasons, and school-activities please visit: https://parks.state.wa.us/505/Fort-Casey

*Please note: due to Coivd-19 Fort Casey is not open for indoor tours or school activities! 

Now that you have learned about some new places, its time to broaden your horizons. Go out there and have a good time! Please be respectful to our climate and treat everything and everyone with respect. It’s not everyday that these amazing parks, volunteers, and workers can do something like this.