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Toil Substitutes for Cash to Get into State Parks

If you're not a fan of Washington State's annual 30-dollar Discover Pass to get into state parks, there's a way to beat the fee. The Department of Natural Resources is willing to swap sweat equity for cash.

Although it's not well publicized, volunteers who put in at least 24 hours of work on a DNR approved project will be rewarded with a Discover Pass to get into a hundred or so state parks, trails, primitive recreation sites, natural and wildlife areas.

Here's an example:

The state DNR is looking for volunteers to re-route a popular trail - it's called the Knothead Trail - overlooking the little Spokane River.

For those who turn up willing to hack away with picks and shovels, the state is willing to waive the Discover Pass requirement for the day.

Moreover, the work will count toward the 24 hours of labor needed to earn a cashless Discovery Pass.

The Knothead trail alteration is scheduled Monday, June 1st at the Little Spokane River Natural Area, and there'll be t-shirts, refreshments and entertainment.

The Discover Pass program was created in desperation after cash-strapped state lawmakers gutted the parks budget when the economy went south in 2008. The state once funded about 70 percent of park expenses from general tax funds; that's now down to about 15 percent.