Check Out Colorado State Parks

Check Out Colorado State Parks, a program that launched on June 20, 2016 to celebrate the beginning of summer, allows Colorado’s residents and visitors to use their library card to check out all of the state’s beautiful 42 state parks!

The program, the result of a partnership between Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Colorado State Library, provides each of the participating 278 libraries with two park passes inside nature backpacks to circulate, providing their patrons with an entire outdoor experience. The participating libraries include every branch of every public library, three military libraries, and 17 academic libraries throughout the state.

“We encourage all Coloradans to explore and learn through their libraries,” said Colorado State Library Development Director, Sharon Morris. “This pass and backpack program gives residents the opportunity to literally ‘check out Colorado State Parks’ and discover the wildlife and beauty of our state.”

Patrons can check out a backpack for 7 days at a time. Each nature backpack includes a set of binoculars, two field guides featuring Colorado wildlife and the state’s trees and wildflowers, a frontcountry ethics reference card donated by Leave No Trace, a card of suggested park activities, and the park pass itself. Says CPW Director Bob Broscheid, “It’s everything you need to explore and enjoy Colorado’s parks on your own or with friends and family.”

We hope the project will go far to meet its goals, which include expanding access for all to Colorado’s state parks; encouraging residents and visitors to get outside to engage in healthy, educational activities in the best classroom of all—nature; allowing residents to “try before they buy” the annual pass and/or day passes to parks, fishing licenses, and camping permits; promoting the 2016 summer library program theme of health and wellness; and helping to expand library collections and services in new directions.

For library staff wanting more information on the program, please go to the program’s Toolkit or contact Beth Crist, And please use the program’s hashtag, #CheckOutColorado, on Twitter and Instagram to spread the word about the program, and check out a backpack and a state park—via your library!

Amy Hitchner
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