Recreation day passes now online

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The U.S. Forest Service has made it possible to buy recreation day passes online and print them out on a home computer.

Called an ePass, the document is available at www.discovernw.org.

To buy the ePass, the user includes the date and vehicle to be driven, then prints out the document. The ePass is honored for one day at all Forest Service recreation day-use sites in Washington and Oregon where “Recreation Pass required’’ signs are posted.

The ePass is valid until midnight of the date printed on the pass. The ePass is not practical for open-topped vehicles or motorcycles because of potential damage by weather or getting stolen.

After buying an ePass, recreationists have two days to print the pass before it expires. This allowed people to use their mobile devices to buy the pass and then have time to access a print.

There are 31 trailheads, boat ramps and locations in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest where day-use passes are required. Included are the Goose Lake and Coldwater Lake boat ramps, plus Ape Canyon, Ape Cave, Lahar, Lava Canyon and Climbers Bivouac on the south side of Mount St. Helens.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has 10 day-use locations, including Dog Mountain trailhead.