PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The USDA Forest Service will waive fees at day-use recreation sites in Washington and Oregon on Monday, Feb. 15, in honor of Presidents' Day.
With many recreation opportunities unavailable to the public during the global COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor recreation has become especially important to individuals and families in the Northwest this past year.
The Forest Service offers several fee-free days annually to encourage Americans to explore the outdoors and visit their public lands.
We welcome new visitors to our 17 National Forests in Washington and Oregon and ask the public to recreate responsibly so we can maintain these opportunities for all to enjoy!
Visitors should keep the following in mind when planning their trip:
Know before you go.
Weather conditions can change quickly, especially at higher elevations. Research your route. Understand that cell phone service may not be available in some forest areas, and many Forest Service roads are not maintained for winter travel – drivers routed onto unmaintained roads by GPS maps have been stranded, sometimes with devastating results.
Be ‘Snow Safe.’
Make sure your vehicle is equipped for winter travel. Carry traction devices at all times, where required. Pack warm clothes, water, food, hazard flares, a spare cell phone battery or charger, and anything else you’ll need to shelter safely and signal for help if you get stuck. Allow extra travel time for your trip. Do not park illegally in parking areas or on highways – this puts pedestrians at risk. In an emergency, crowded conditions will prevent others from clearing the way and slow the arrival of medical aid and other first responders
Sno-Park or No Parking?
It’s been a relatively mild winter season in the Pacific Northwest; not all Sno-Parks have snow and those that do are in high demand. Most Sno-Park parking fills early, especially on weekends. If your preferred site is full, do not park illegally on the highway! Have a non-snow activity planned as a back-up.
When travelling to a Sno-Park, have your permit ready. Washington Sno-Park permits are issued by Washington State Parks. Oregon Sno-Park permits are issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation. These state-issued permits raise money for snow removal at winter recreation sites; the state’s permit requirement is not waived on Forest Service fee-free days.
The Forest Service fee waiver includes many picnic areas, boat launches, trailheads, and visitor centers. Fees for camping, cabin rentals, or other permits still apply. Fees will continue to be charged at recreation sites operated by concessionaires unless the individual manager chooses to participate. To find a recreation site near you, visit our interactive recreation map.
The Forest Service manages 24 million acres of national forest lands in the Pacific Northwest and over 3,000 world-class outdoor recreation areas, facilities, and programs. No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free.
To learn more about the Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6.