Use Nature As Your Library
As part of DCR’s efforts to have more people enjoy our parks and forests, we began offering, in Fall 2005, public libraries across the Commonwealth one free Massachusetts ParksPass for use by library patrons. The Parks Pass is offered to the main branch of the library in each of Massachusetts? 351 cities and towns. The ParksPass entitles the bearer to free parking at over 50 facilities in the Massachusetts State Parks System that charge a day-use parking fee. A parking fee of $2.00-$7.00 is charged at most locations between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, and a few, charge a parking fee year round. The pass can be borrowed and returned just like other museum and special attraction passes that may be offered at libraries.
Libraries may purchase additional passes for $35.00, which is the annual fee charged to Massachusetts residents.
As part of the program, DCR staff is available to visit participating libraries to give a presentation about the DCR state parks systems to youth and adult audiences, and hands-on environmental education programs to young visitors.
This year, in an effort to promote the need to get children outdoors and to learn about and enjoy nature, DCR invited libraries to design a reading program for patrons that helps them learn about environmental or the natural resources they might explore when visiting forests and parks. We have offered libraries "Use Nature As Your Library" certificates to libraries to give to children and young adults who complete the libraries programs.
Libraries are also offered free DCR book marks that promote the agency's website and provide information bout purchasing a ParksPass.
At the end of the summer season, DCR asks libraries to complete a brief questionnaire to assess how often the ParksPass was borrowed and the facilities patrons visited when using the pass.
In 2006, our initial year of the program, over 170 libraries participated statewide. In 2007, 181 libraries participated with 64 additional passes purchased by libraries across the state.
Priscilla Geigis, Director, State Parks and Recreation; 617-626-4986 Priscilla.Geigis@state.ma.us