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June 16, 2004
Contact: Chief Bruce Bjork (360) 902-2373

WDFW stepping up enforcement of vehicle use permit rules

OLYMPIA - Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officers are planning statewide emphasis patrols for compliance with vehicle use permit rules at agency-managed properties.

A WDFW vehicle use permit is required to park vehicles at all posted WDFW water access sites and wildlife areas. Permit sales provide funding for maintenance of more than 800,000 acres of WDFW-owned and managed lands, including 600 water access sites.

While the vehicle use permit requirement has been in place for several years, enforcement officers still see vehicles parked at WDFW access sites without the necessary decal, said Bruce Bjork, WDFW enforcement chief.

"It is understandable that there would be instances of non-compliance when the program was first implemented, and enforcement officers generally gave verbal and written warnings to violators," Bjork said. "However, after five years with the vehicle use permit program in place, there are no excuses for not having the permit."

The permit allows year-round access to WDFW lands and provides access to some of Washington's richest wildlife areas.

Fishing and hunting license buyers automatically receive a permit, which is transferable between two vehicles. Non-fishing or hunting recreationists can purchase a permit for $10.95. Second permits can be purchased for $5.48 each.

Permits must be clearly displayed and visible from outside the vehicle. They can be affixed to a vehicle window, placed on the dash or front seat, or hung from the rear-view mirror.

The fine for violating the permit requirement is a minimum of $66. The fine will be automatically reduced to $30 if the vehicle owner shows proof of purchasing a vehicle use permit within 15 days of receiving the violation.