California is home to the nation’s largest state park system with 280 stunning parks. From the Redwood trees in the north to the Joshua trees in the south, California’s state parks preserve the state’s breathtaking natural and cultural history and create unmatched opportunities for outdoor recreation.
California is also home to 1,184 public libraries. Public libraries serve as community cornerstones with more than just books to offer; California State Libraries provide technology services, educational and professional opportunities, health and wellness programs, and other cultural resources.
Early April, during National Library Week, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, in collaboration with the California State Library, announced that library cardholders can now check out state park passes. Each pass gives a library cardholder free day entry to select state parks for one passenger vehicle (with up to nine people) — or one highway-licensed motorcycle. Similar to the book checkout process, library patrons must visit their local libraries to pick up their park passes. Library patrons will be able to visit as many participating parks as they would like during the loan period.
Through this innovative pilot program, more Californians will be able to experience and enjoy the park system than ever. A key aim of this program was to help reduce financial barriers and make camping, hiking, and similar outdoor activities more accessible to underrepresented groups in these spaces. Moreover, research has shown spending time in natural environments can benefit health and well-being and that parks can be a cost-effective, preventative prescription for the physical and mental health of young people.
“Parks and libraries have the potential to be powerful symbols and agents for California’s open spaces,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “It is an honor to work side-by-side with the California State Library, Newsom Administration and partners to advance outdoor access to all Californians via public libraries, inspire stewardship for the state park system and build a healthier California.”
To sign up for a California library card see here.