The library has always been a good place to seek adventure, but the thrills are mostly left to your imagination.
Utah State Parks is launching the Check It Out! program, which allows library-card holders to check out a state park pass at 49 libraries or bookmobiles across the state. Participating libraries will be offering the passes by May 1, if not sooner.
The park pass provides day-use entry for up to eight people in the same vehicle to 42 parks, ranging from the red-rock of Snow Canyon near St. George to Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border. Normal day-use fees range from $2 to $10.
This Is the Place Heritage Park is not covered by the annual pass and visitors to Antelope Island State Park will still have to pay a $2 causeway fee to Davis County.
"The idea is to get people who may not have made it to a state park to check them out knowing that they will likely come back. It is about opening doors for people to see what the state parks offer," said Nichole Mallory, coordinator of the state's Rockin' Utah initiative to get families and youth into nature. "We want to create opportunities and encourage children and their families to rediscover the natural world again or discover it for the first time."
Check It Out! is based on a similar successful program in Connecticut.
"By partnering with libraries, we hope to reach those who might not otherwise visit a state park," Mallory said.
Each library was provided with one pass earlier this week with an option to purchase others at a reduced cost. The annual park pass costs $75. How the passes are managed depends on each library.
"This is a perfect tie-in with our 'Well Being' campaign," said Carol Ormond with Salt Lake County Library Services. "The environmental portion of the campaign starts May 1 and we will make the state park passes available on that date."
Ormond said people using county libraries will be able to check out passes at the reference desk each Tuesday on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be no waiting list for the passes, which must be returned the following Monday.
"Utah's state parks remain affordable destinations in these lean economic times," said Utah State Parks Director Mary Tullius. "And you can't put a price on days spent exploring trails and nights around a campfire with family and friends."