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20 Wisconsin Libraries Pilot Program to Check Out Daily State Park Passes

Thursday, October 20, 2022
Barb Van Haren, DPI Asst. St. Superintendent, delivers remarks at the kick-off event
DPI's Barb Van Haren delivers
remarks during kick-off event.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) joined the Wisconsin Library Association’s Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries (WAPL), the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and the public to kick-off a pilot program to make state park and forest vehicle admission day passes available to 1,000 library card holders at 20 libraries across Wisconsin.

Starting Tuesday, Nov. 1, library card holders can check out a pass from participating libraries. The passes will be valid for free admission for one vehicle at any state park, forest, or recreation area where admission is required. The pilot program runs through March 1, 2023.

Platteville Public Library in Platteville hosted today’s event, which started with remarks from program partners including the DPI's Interim Assistant State Superintendent for the Division of Libraries and Technology Barb Van Haren, along with story time and nature-based activities for toddler/pre-school-aged children followed by a visit from Smokey Bear.

DPI's Barb Van Haren and Ben Miller with Smokey Bear
DPI's Barb Van Haren and Ben MIller
with Smokey Bear

The pilot program, Check Out Wisconsin State Parks at Your Library, is a collaborative effort between the DNR, WAPL, and the DPI. Nicolet Federated Library System and Southwest Wisconsin Library System underwrote the cost of the day passes.

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 goal of the program is to expand access to the Wisconsin state park system to new park visitors. Each of the 20 libraries is receiving 50 day passes available for a one-time use. Libraries were chosen based on economic and social variables.

The DNR plans to continue the program in 2023 based on participant feedback and funding. Each pass includes a survey link so the DNR can gather information about who used the passes and how they enjoyed their park experience. Participants who complete the survey after using the pass 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.

Participating libraries are: Argyle Public Library, Beloit Public Library, Deer Park Public Library, Edgerton Public Library, Farnsworth Public Library (Oconto), Franklin Public Library, Grantsburg Public Library, Hales Corners Public Library, Hedberg Public Library (Janesville), Irvin Young Memorial Library (Whitewater), Kenosha Public Library, McMillan Public Library (Wisconsin Rapids), Mercer Public Library, North Shore Public Library (Glendale), Oak Creek Public Library, Platteville Public Library, Sherman & Ruth Weiss Community Library (Hayward), Shorewood Public Library, Wauwatosa Public Library and Winter Public Library.

For information about the Check Out Wisconsin State Parks at Your Library program, please visit the DNR website.

For questions about this information, contact Beth Tomev (608) 266-7410

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