Spokane area libraries are now equipped with new Check Out Washington adventure packs, complete with a special Discover Pass, binoculars and field guides.
Library card holders can go to their local branch within the Spokane Library District, the Spokane Public Library system or the Fairchild Air Force Base Library to pick up a pack for a week and explore the outdoors.
The Washington State Parks Foundation is tripling where Check Out Washington adventure packs can be borrowed, thanks to a donation from Washington State Employees Credit Union. The expansion will focus on communities where health disparity data indicates higher need for free access to recreation opportunities, according to the state parks department.
“Libraries are among the heart of our communities, offering boundless resources to the public,” Washington State Librarian Sara Jones said in a statement. “Their participation in this program helps deepen their connection to the people they serve.”
The expansion of the program includes Fairchild, Spokane County and the City library systems as well as Joint Base Lewis-McChord Libraries, King County Library System, North Central Washington Libraries, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma Public Library, Timberland Regional Library and Yakima Valley Libraries.
The Washington State Parks and the Washington State Library launched the program in 2019 with money from the Washington State Parks Foundation and the Departments of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife. In 2020, it expanded to more than 100 libraries. The Legislature allocated $35,000 a year starting in 2021 to buy two special state parks passes for every library in the state that wanted them.
The special state parks passes allows those who check them out to experience day visits at Washington State Parks, Department of Fish and Wildlife or Department of Natural Resources lands for free.
This year, WSECU donated $40,000 to the state parks foundation for 400 additional passes, the nature guides and some design work, Ann Flannigan, WSECU vice president of public relations, told The Spokesman-Review. They also paid roughly $12,000 directly for the adventure bags .
“This program helps remove access barriers to state lands and provides any resident with an opportunity to experience these public treasures,” Flannigan said in a news release.
The Spokane County Library District will receive 44 backpacks to be used at their 11 libraries, according to the district.
Spokane Public Library will receive 24 packs and the Fairchild Air Force Base Library will receive two, state parks spokesperson Amanda McCarthy said.
Along with the Discover Pass, the packs include three laminated pocket guides about Washington trees, wildlife and birds, and a set of binoculars. For more information on the passes, visit your local library. For a list of which libraries are offering the packs, visit discoverpass.wa.gov.
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