Beloit Public Library is one of 20 libraries across Wisconsin that is participating in a pilot program that aims at increasing access to state parks.
The program, titled Check Out Wisconsin’s State Parks At Your Library, provides library cardholders the opportunity to “check out” a free vehicle pass to visit any state park, forest, or recreation area in Wisconsin.
A total of 50 passes are available at BPL while supplies last. Families are limited to one pass per month through the length of the pilot program, which ends March 1, 2023.
This pilot program is a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wisconsin Library Association’s Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries, and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Nicolet Federated Library System and Southwest Wisconsin Library System underwrote cost.
“The DNR is continually looking for innovative opportunities to bring more people to state parks and forests and to ensure everyone in Wisconsin has access to our incredible natural resources,” said Steve Schmelzer, Director of the DNR Bureau of Parks and Recreation. “By partnering with Wisconsin’s library system, we can reach households who may not be as familiar with the wide array of opportunities Wisconsin’s state parks and forests offer.”
Along with the day pass, the cardholder will receive an informational kit of state park system materials and maps, a Wisconsin Explorer Program book, stickers, accessibility information, and more. The program’s goal is to expand access to the Wisconsin state park system to new park visitors.
“Our library provides resources for everyone of all ages and backgrounds about a broad range of topics, so adding access to our state park system is a natural fit,” said Amy Mitchell, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at BPL. “We are excited to participate as a pilot library and hope to see the community take advantage of this opportunity.”
Based on participant feedback and funding, the DNR plans to continue the program in 2023. Each pass includes a survey link so the DNR can gather information about who used the passes and how they enjoyed their park experience. After using the pass, participants who complete the survey will be eligible to win one of ten 2023 annual state park and forest vehicle admission stickers paid for by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks.
Participants must be residents of Wisconsin. To check out a pass, library cardholders can ask any staff member for assistance. Don’t have a card? Library cards are free for residents and take just a few minutes to create.
Learn more about Beloit Public Library and how to get a library card at Get a Library Card | Beloit Public Library (beloitlibrary.org). For more information about the pilot program, read more at dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/parks/outwigo.