Land Access



Discover Pass Requirement Explained


The Washington State Department of Natural Resources policy concerning Discover Pass requirements is that any motor vehicle that is registered for street use must have a Discover Pass while on DNR managed recreation land.

This is both in conflict with State law and financially counterproductive for the DNR.

Per RCW79A.80.020(1), Discover passes are only required for motor vehicles:

(1) A discover pass is required for any motor vehicle to park or operate on any recreation site or lands, except for short-term parking as may be authorized under RCW79A.80.070.

For the purpose of section RCW79A.80, a “motor vehicle” is defined in RCW79A.80.010(6):

(6) “Motor vehicle” has the same meaning as defined in RCW 46.04.320 and which are required to be registered under chapter 46.16A RCW. “Motor vehicle” does not include those motor vehicles exempt from registration under RCW46.16A.080 and state and publicly owned motor vehicles as provided in RCW 46.16A.170.

If the vehicle registration includes an ORV permit and the vehicle is at an ORV area, you are not required to be registered pursuant to RCW46.16A so you are not considered a motor vehicle for the purposes of RCW79A.80.

Contrary to DNR policy, vehicles with ORV permits at places where ORV recreation is allowed are not required to have Discover Passes. To comply with the RCW the policy should be that if what you are doing or where you are at requires your vehicle to be registered for street use, then a Discover Pass is required.

In addition to the applicability issue, their current policy is not in the fiscal best interest of the DNR or the citizens that recreate on DNR managed public land. From each Discover Pass the DNR receives $2.40, but on average they receive nearly $10 from each ORV permit sold. Why would the DNR establish a policy that is both illegal and fiscally detrimental?

Tod Petersen
Political Action Chairman – Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance
Legislative/Land Use Coordinator – Northwest Motorcycle Association
16015 62nd Ave NW
Stanwood, WA 98292

The NMA has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and the Cle Elum Ranger District to improve multiple use trails in the Taneum area for the betterment of the environment and all trail users. 

Become a NMA Member

Don't worry about what time of year it is. NMA memberships expire at the end of your membership term - on the anniversary date. For example, if you're paying for a membership in July your renewal will come due in July the following year.

Join Today! Registration is easy!