Normally, it costs about $12 for a one-day parks pass (or $30 for an annual pass) but for a few days every year the parking is free — which is another way of saying the lots may be full before you’re even up and out of bed. Or maybe not, since this year one of those free days falls on a Wednesday, which makes it a perfect opportunity to take the day off (or take advantage of remote work, and treat yourself to a full day of writing or spreadsheetery while surrounded by nature). This particular free day is in honor of Billy Frank Jr., a preservationist born in 1931 who helped defend the rights of Indigenous people to their land — particularly when it came to fishing rights. Arrested by racist cops dozens of times, Frank was able to secure landmark court rulings that led to major reforms in Washington environmental protections. (Though as recently as 2018, Attorney General Bob Ferguson continued to appeal rulings regarding the state’s treaty obligations regarding salmon). Even if this is the one day of the year that you enjoy a state park, remember who you have to thank for there being any natural areas still around to enjoy.
Billy Franks’ Birthday is on Wednesday, March 9, and occurs at all state parks — the closest one is Saint Edward State Park, as well as Bridle Trails in Kirkland though that one's usually overrun by rich people. Park access is free every day for people who do not drive.