State Parks announces changes to schedule for winter

Washington State Parks has started the transition to its winter schedule, which will result in the closure or partial closure of 40 of the more than 100 state parks.

That means more than 60 parks will remain open seven days a week for camping and day-use activities.

About 24 parks will be closed until dates in March, April or May, due to weather and other circumstances, according to a State Parks news release.

Each fall, department managers identify which parks will remain open and which will offer limited partial services, such as reduced camping sites and restrooms. Some parks are open only on weekends and holidays. Campers should be aware that some state parks may shut off water systems, even if the park is open. Some boat launches are closed, and some docks are removed for the winter, according to the news release.

State Parks maintains services within the current operating budget and to provide a geographic balance of services across the state.

Some parks are open but specific areas within the park are closed, and some are open on weekends and holidays.

Dash Point State Park, for example, has a limited number of campsites open this winter, and the day-use area will see periodic closures as well. The interpretive center at Federation Forest State Park is closed until further notice. The campground at Millersylvania State Park is partially open through May 15. The day-use are at Tolmie State Park is opens Wednesdays-Sundays through April 15.

State Parks offers a number of opportunities for those people who enjoy camping in the winter months. Campgrounds that remain open are less crowded, and there are more campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis in the winter. Most parks offer off-season rates. Parks that accept year-round camping reservations are Cape Disappointment, Deception Pass, Dosewallips, Grayland Beach, Ike Kinswa, Kitsap Memorial, Ocean City and Pacific Beach. For a list of parks with extended reservation dates, visit parks.wa.gov, and follow the link to reservations.

For those who aren’t keen on camping during the winter, but like the idea of getting away to the outdoors, a number of parks have cabins and yurts that are available by reservation. Cabins and yurts have heaters and electric lights. Guests bring along their own bedding. More information is available at parks.wa.gov/403/