Prepare for winter fun and buy your sno-park permit now

With the first snow falling in the backcountry, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobile riders are getting the itch to hit the trail.

If you plan to use on the state’s sno-parks this winter, however, make sure you have a permit before leaving home.

Washington State Parks sno-park permits went on sale Saturday and will be available through April 30. Permits will be needed from Dec. 1-April 30.

People using nonmotorized sports sno-park permits will need a one-day, seasonal and/or special groomed trail permit. They can be purchased at a number of State Park locations, vendors and at U.S. Forest Service offices in the area. They also can be purchased online or by mail from State Parks Winter Recreation Program headquarters. There are about 40 nonmotorized sno-parks statewide, open to people who enjoy cross-country skiing, riding inner tubes, showshoeing and skijoring.

A special groomed trail permit is required at eight sno-parks: Cabin Creek, Chiwawa, Crystal Springs, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Mount Spokane and Nason Ridge. The funds from these permits pay for more frequent trail grooming at the parks and the maintenance and replacement of snow grooming equipment owned by Washington State Parks.

In addition, there are about 80 sno-parks for snowmobiles, offering access to more than 3,000 miles of groomed trails.

There also are five sno-parks with designated areas for tubing and snow play. They are at the Fields Spring, Lake Wenatchee, Hyak, Rose Springs and Oldman Pass sno-parks.

There are some locations where if you use a daily sno-park permit, you also will need a one-day or annual Discover Pass. Those locations are Crystal Springs, Easton Reload and Hyak sno-parks; Fields Spring, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, and Mount Spokane state parks; and the Department of Natural Resources’ Mount Tahoma Trail System.