Free Camping and Boat Launches for Foster Families

Did you know that Washington State Parks offer free camping and boat launches for foster parents activities with foster kids? Foster families and registered relative caregivers are exempted from paying camping and day use fees in state parks by showing photo identification and a foster family card provided by your agency. The children in care must be present with them on the camping trip or park visit in order for them to be eligible for the fee exemption. Information about state parks and programs can be found on the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission web site at www.parks.wa.gov.

Camping reservations can be made online through this site or by telephoning the State Parks camping reservation call center at 888-226-7688 (1-888-CAMPOUT). Foster family camping by reservation: Most camping in state parks is by reservation. Foster families using the foster family camping fee exemption in a state park can make a camping reservation online or by telephone. When making your reservation, indicate that you are a foster family, and you will not be charged a camping fee. Your credit card will be charged a reservation fee of $6.50 online or $8.50 through the telephone call center. (This is a reservation system vendor cost.) You will receive an e-mail reservation confirmation which you should print out and take with you on your camping trip.

Upon arrival at the park, visit the park office during open hours and show your photo identification and foster family card. Park staff will provide you a receipt to place on your dashboard so that it is visible from outside the vehicle. If the park office is not open or staffed when you arrive, check for your name on the reservation camping list posted in most reservation parks, or simply proceed to the campsite that matches the campsite number on your reservation confirmation. Place your reservation confirmation sheet on your dash board so that it is visible from outside the vehicle, then visit the park office during open hours to present your photo identification and foster family card to park staff.

Note: If you make a reservation and then later find that you cannot make the trip, it is very important that you cancel your reservation at least 24 hours in advance of your reserved camping day (you will not be charged a cancellation fee to do this) so that State Parks can provide the campsite to another visitor. We depend on camping revenue to operate the park system, and we want to offer as many people an opportunity to camp as possible. Foster family camping in a first-come, first-served park: A few parks offer first-come, first-served camping for which you can’t make a reservation. When you arrive at the park, find a campsite and locate the pay station in the camping area. Fill out a camping fee/registration envelope (see example below) and be sure to write “foster family” legibly in the area indicated on the envelope. Remove the envelope flap, place the flap on the car dashboard so that it is visible from outside the vehicle, and deposit the envelope in the metal pay station provided. Visit the park office during open hours or contact park staff when you see them to show a photo ID and your foster family card. Foster family day access (exemption from Discover Pass): Fill out the fee envelope (see sample below), checking the “foster family” box. Remove the envelope flap and display the flap portion on the car dashboard so it is visible from outside the vehicle. Deposit the envelope in the metal pay station provided. Visit the park office or contact park staff when you see them to show a photo ID and your foster family card. Please note that if you are camping in a Washington state park, you do not additionally need a Discover Pass or day fee envelope. Leave your camping documentation on your windshield while in the park. Camping includes day access in the park where you are camping, for the duration of your stay there. The foster family exemption from the Discover Pass applies only in state parks. Visitors must display a Discover Pass for vehicle access to lands managed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources.

Additional Information

• The foster family exemption program is only valid only at Washington state parks. The foster family card is not accepted at campgrounds operated by other government agencies or private businesses.

• The foster family card must be current and with you at all times.

• The foster family card cannot be used in conjunction with any other pass or discount.

• Guests of foster families camping at separate sites must pay the full regular fee.

• Campers are limited to a 10-day stay in one park from April 1 through September 30, and a 20-day stay during the rest of the year.

• Moorage is limited to three consecutive nights at any single park area unless otherwise posted.

• The foster family card does not provide discounts on annual permits, reservation fees or other services (i.e., pressed fuel, shower meters, gas stoves, etc.), except as noted.

For more information about various types of permits and passes, please visit www.parks.wa.gov.

Click Here for a printable version of this information.

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