California State Parks and the California State Library today announced an additional opportunity to advance safe and equitable outdoor access to all Californians. Starting this week—National Library Week—California State Parks will be distributing the California State Library Parks Pass to public libraries across the state for checkout by library patrons. The new pass will allow free vehicle day use entry at more than 200 participating state park units.
“Spending time in nature is crucial to our mental health and well-being,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “We’re lucky to have the largest state park system in the nation, and I am thrilled to partner with California State Parks and the California State Library to help make those spaces more accessible to California families. With the California State Library Parks Pass, anyone with a library card will be able to unlock the benefits and beauty of our majestic state parks.”
Research shows that spending time in the outdoors is associated with better mental and physical health, and that many Californians face barriers to accessing their parks. California has a wealth of state parks, and many public libraries are likely within driving distance of one. By reducing barriers to park access and partnering with entities such as public libraries, the state can help more Californians explore the outdoors and generate positive impacts in the area of health, natural resource stewardship, and historical and cultural connections.
“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.”
As part of a three-year pilot program starting in April, each library jurisdiction will receive at least three California State Library Parks Pass hangtags per branch for checkout by library patrons, including mobile libraries. Park Passes will enter circulation on a rolling basis throughout April and May for checkout by library patrons; library users can contact their local library for more information. Library-card holders will be able to check out the pass for the allotted number of days allowed by the local library, then return the pass to the library for others to use. The pass is valid for entry of one passenger vehicle with capacity of nine people or less or one highway licensed motorcycle at participating state park units.
“Libraries are trusted community hubs where Californians know they can find what they need to work, play, and thrive,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas. “This partnership with State Parks now allows Californians to ‘check out’ California’s great outdoors at their community library.”